John A. Ross wrote:

I would not also say it was restrictive, if you worked on any confidential projects or used proprietary technology I am sure your employer would have you under personal NDA or contract even AFTER you left them.

Yeah, there was a real nice story in the paper last year, I think. A guy who worked
for Alcatel came up with an idea. He ran it by the corporate powers, and they
had no interest in the idea, and I believe he got that in writing. He quit, and
developed the product to the point that he started selling it, or at least showing
it to potential customers. He is now a legal slave of Alcatel, developing the product
and doing custom modifications for free. He expects to be required to support the product
for free for the life of the product, unless his lawyers can find a way to break the
terms of the agreement he apparently signed. If he fails to continue to work on this,
they apparently can jail him on contempt of court charges. I think they also have
a requirement that he take no other job for the duration of this. If I recall correctly,
this is going on in Texas. The product WAS very related to his work, and the business
of Alcatel, which certainly clouds the picture. I think Alcatel would be totally
justified to enforce some of the terms of the usual non-compete agreements and
trade secret protection, and could make him work (as an employee) of Alcatel,
or make him take the product off the market. Even forcing him to turn over the
entire product, and spend a certain amount of his own time documenting it
and bringing Alcatel employees up to speed on it would be reasonable.
But, this slavery business, with no end in sight, is just too much!

The principle is easy, if the company invests in them, they should
invest in the company with their best efforts and loyalty. In fact we
even invested in them by paying the fees for vocational training or
education they wish to take on their own time, for personal improvement
as long as it increases their skills base used within the company.
Because of this even some of our assembly operators have attained
education to degree level.

Sure, you should work for your employer when he's paying your salary. But, I have
heard of so many cases where a guy who designed aerospace parts, for instance,
thinks up an idea for a better fishing reel, on his own time, and ends up having to
give all profit to the employer. (There are, I'm sure, lots of cases that can be
found where the employee used some facilities or company time to develop
the product, that changes the picture very much.)


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