Tortuous Interference?

Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2009 11:56 pm
My son works in sales. He was asked by an owner of the company to target accounts (to undermine the 2nd company's sales) of a 2nd company that his current company is in the process of acquiring. The information about the accounts was obtained under a non-disclosure agreement as part of the acquisition process. He did not do this and is now being targeted for dismissal via various tactics. Any advice? The first company is in the USA, the company being acquired is in the EU.
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Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 2,201 • Replies: 6
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Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2009 01:39 am
Start looking for a new job.
Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2009 02:05 am
If Martha Stewart had done that, she would just be getting out.
Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2009 02:27 am
ha ha ha
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Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2009 08:37 am
It's called tortious interference, by the way (has to do with torts, not torture).

My advice: he should document and send home everything he can -- emails, memos, whatever, referring to him being asked to do this. If there is nothing in writing he will be a lot more stuck. I am not suggesting that he breach any agreements with his employer or that he steal anything from them but he needs to be able to protect himself. I trust you understand I am talking about forwarding emails home, rather than copying a 9,000 page document on company time, money and equipment.

And, look for another job. Even if he's not fired herein, the company may find some other pretext. So he must get looking. He's gotta live on something in the meantime even if this is a case and it's a wildly successful one. He needs to be able to pay rent.

And, finally, get thee to an employment law attorney. Is there a case? I dunno. There's not enough facts here and no one can comment in the absence of knowing whether any of this is in writing or independently witnessed. He does not seem to exactly be a whistleblower, either (they tend to be protected), more someone who refused to do something his boss told him to do.

In any event, if you think it will be worthwhile (and if he is fired in this lousy economy, then it probably will be), get legal advice on this matter.
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Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2009 09:11 am
juanwar wrote:
He did not do this and is now being targeted for dismissal via various tactics. Any advice?

Let me get this straight: your son didn't do the things that his employer asked him to do?

First of all, that's very commendable of your son. It sounds like he was asked to do something that was highly unethical and possibly illegal.

Secondly, this isn't really a case of tortious interference, since it sounds like your son refused to do any interfering. Even if it were, your son was acting as an agent of his employer, so he shouldn't have any personal liability.

If your son is an employee-at-will, he can be fired for any reason. Some states have an exception for employees fired for asserting their civil rights or for discriminatory reasons or for being a "whistleblower." Your son might fit into that last category. But, as jespah advised, he should seek the services of an attorney who specializes in employment law.
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Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2009 06:25 pm
Unless he has the original directive in writing, it will come down to his word against his boss.

Are you saying that he is getting fired because he didn't do an act - something that was wrong, maybe illegal?

That may be the reason he thinks he's getting fired for, but I doubt if anyone will put that into writing, either.
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