Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 25

Thread: Seeking advice regarding unethical business practices:

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    KZN
    Posts
    10
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Seeking advice regarding unethical business practices:

    Dear Members

    Please offer some advice on the following:

    An organisation which I created, serves to generate content for firms and companies. One of my associates within my organisation has approached my main client who we are currently providing content to (a client which I initially introduced into the business) in a underhanded manner and has ask my client if she could continue generating copy/content for the remainder of the ongoing project – but only this time, in her personal capacity and not as part of my organisation.

    I have recently discovered that she has subsequently been awarded a contract to continue generating copy in her private capacity on behalf of my client. I uncovered this dishonesty in one of her emails as I own the domain and hosting facilities.

    My first question is: am I entitled to read company/staff/partners emails?

    Secondly: I am not at all please to find that this has effectively exclude my organisation and myself from generating further content for the ongoing original project and the client has chosen instead to continue with the second phase of this project in an underhanded and deceptive manner by using a person within my organisation, without my knowledge and who I initially introduced to the project.

    I have been working with this client for years and only have verbal agreements in place.

    What recourse do I have?

    I thank you in advance for your anticipated words of wisdom.

  2. #2
    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    5,089
    Thanks
    336
    Thanked 808 Times in 642 Posts
    What does the contract between you and your associate say regarding corporate IP?
    Does your contract with your associate say that their email is open to scrutiny?
    Howcome you read her email?

    If you wat to take the moral highground then you must be sure that you won't get knocked down through your own actions.
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

  3. #3
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    4,403
    Thanks
    513
    Thanked 854 Times in 687 Posts
    I wouldn't see any mileage in going after the client on a legal level, especially if there was only verbal agreements in place. I would possibly approach the client purely on a business level and attempt to persuade them to cancel their new agreement with your associate in favour of a better deal offered by your organisation. Out of principal I would be tempted to cut margins to nothing just to exclude the underhanded associate from getting the business.

    That then would leave the question of what to do about the underhanded associate. I guess this would largely depend on how she's related to the business. Is she a partner, employee, share holder? How exactly does she fit in?
    _______________________________________________
    I am special and so is Vanash.
    _______________________________________________

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    KZN
    Posts
    10
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Thank you for taking the time to offer your advice AndyD, much appreciated.

    She is a new partner in this organisation.

    As a matter of interest, where do you stand on the email reading question and perhaps more importantly, would you know if South African law specific in this area?

    Again, thank you!

  5. #5
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    20,979
    Thanks
    3,055
    Thanked 2,462 Times in 2,067 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    I wouldn't see any mileage in going after the client on a legal level
    Agreed - that's not an option. Contacting the client to let them know you are disappointed about the incident as an opening gambit wouldn't hurt, though.

    If you're going to sue anyone, it is the associate. And based on your outline, probably worth going that route if there's enough money on the line.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    KZN
    Posts
    10
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Many thanks for your thoughtful opinion, kind of you to take the time.

    On the email issue, I was very suspicious that a contract could be withdrawn mysteriously. May I add that it is generally not my nature to snoop about in other peoples personal affaires but this was not a private email account, it belongs to my organisation.

    As a matter of interest, new technologies make it possible for employers to monitor many aspects of their employees' jobs, especially on telephones, computer terminals, through electronic and voice mail, and when employees are using the Internet. Such monitoring is virtually unregulated. Therefore, unless company policy specifically states otherwise (and even this is not assured), your employer may listen, watch and read most of your workplace communications – this however, is not the extent that I would go to in order to establish my conflict of interest situation but know if South African law is specific in this area?

  7. #7
    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    5,089
    Thanks
    336
    Thanked 808 Times in 642 Posts
    Therefore, unless company policy specifically states otherwise (and even this is not assured), your employer may listen, watch and read most of your workplace communications

    I am quite certain that the law does not see it this way

    A telescope makes it possible to look at your neighbour in the bath - the fact that the technology is readily available doesn't mean you have the right to use it to spy.
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    KZN
    Posts
    10
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Value your opinion adrianh but would it not also be reasonable to say - using your analogy, that the “neighbour in the bath” would be monitoring a personal email account and perhaps the metaphorical planet Neptune, would be monitoring a company email account.

    Would it not have been wiser for this person to have approached my client, in a bid for personal gain, using a generic email address as opposed to our company email address?

    Would it also be reasonable to suppose that I have a right to safeguarding against in-house trade secret leaks?

    Thank you for your time.

  9. #9
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    20,979
    Thanks
    3,055
    Thanked 2,462 Times in 2,067 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    I'd argue the email access issue slightly differently.

    If it's a business email account, username@companydomain I really don't see a problem. After all it would be pretty ridiculous to require businesses to keep their email correspondence for years and years by regulation (just which reg eludes me right now), and then prohibit anyone but the original mailbox operator from ever reading it on the grounds of privacy.

    A personal email service not on the company domain? That would be a different story.
    Last edited by Dave A; 25-May-12 at 09:45 PM. Reason: typo
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  10. #10
    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    5,089
    Thanks
    336
    Thanked 808 Times in 642 Posts
    I do not believe that you have the right to read her mail unless you explicitly informed her that you reserve the right to do so. I don't think that you have the right to do so merely because it is a company email address.

    And again, I also don't think that you will win if you were to go to court or the CCMA about her taking the client if you didn't have an agreement up front stating what is expected.

    The best person to answer these questions would be Sterne.Law
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. [Question] Legal position regarding unethical practice in a sport club?
    By Mark Atkinson in forum General Business Forum
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 30-Nov-10, 09:48 PM
  2. Seeking advice
    By WhereisWally in forum Business Finance Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-Aug-10, 05:31 PM
  3. Top 5 unethical practices in pest control.
    By Dave A in forum Pest Control Industry Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 15-Jun-09, 05:56 AM

Tags for this Thread

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •