I run a very successful event design company. One of my managers left the company and opened up their own design business. This person is now a direct competitor. Initially, I was supportive of this move. My thoughts were that there was enough business for everyone. A recent discovery changed my opinion. I have been made aware that this person is now using images of work they executed while working for me and claiming they did it on their own. This tactic has worked to help them steal clients from me.
What should I do?
First, I am so sorry this has happened to you. It is an unfortunate reality that acts of betrayal are common amongst those without a conscience. That said, this is so unacceptable that I do not even know where to begin. I, myself, have had many employees leave my company and start their own business, yet there always a decorum of respect. We agreed they would always ask for my written permission to use images of work they did under the umbrella of my company.
That said, I have also stood in your position. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do aside from waiting it out. My advice to you is to have all of your current employees sign a confidentially/non-compete agreement which will protect you from having them do the same thing (for a specified period of time).
Lastly, I want to remind you that most of us will be betrayed in our lifetime. The trick is to learn from the experience and not allow it to destroy your ability to trust others in the future. I am a firm believer that God does not like ugly. I’ll close by saying that the two people who did this to me are no longer in business.
Readers: If you had worked for someone, do you feel that you have the right to show photos of collaborations as your own? What would you advise “Betrayed” to do in this situation? Have you ever been betrayed professionally? Please share your story.
I look forward to reading your comments.
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