ex employee stealing accounts

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by b121774, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. dnc19694339

    dnc19694339 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 208

    I also had a fired employee do this last year. He got a couple accounts from me. Whatever, dude was a headache from day one and now he is their headache!
  2. b121774

    b121774 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 207

    Thanks guys for the replies. I am looking into non compete agreement's today and see if they are legal in my state. My little research online say's no in CA but will see what a lawyer says.
  3. HDLLandscaping

    HDLLandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    Legal in MA. Maybe find a way to put it in that they cannot take your current customers but may enter the industry, non-competes prevent them from even starting a landscaping business.

    Might be a little loophole to slip it in.
  4. bln

    bln LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 370

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  5. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,746

    i don't understand the non compete argument. a customer has the right to choose whoever they want to service their property. it doesn't matter if he is an ex employee of whomever. the customer has the final say in who they want to hire.

    now if he was still employed by you and stealing work from you on the side then that is a different story. you can do something about that. since he no longer works for you he's free to do whatever he wants.

    that would be like saying since i worked for another company 15 years ago that i couldn't go bid on a property that they cut now. it just makes no sense at all. that is not a law.

    of course what he is doing is shady and wrong but i don't think there's anything legal you can do about it. it's a free market. anyone can hire whoever they wanna hire.

    i would just ignore it and move on. you've let your customers know so it's their choice. if they stick with him then you don't want those customers anyways.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  6. clydebusa

    clydebusa Inactive
    Messages: 1,660

    Non compete does not work if you fire them. (inOklahoma) PERIOD case after case has come up against it and every judge will rule they x employee must make a living. Now if they choose to leave and start a company based on taking your customers that is a different game. As my lawyer says have every employee sign one in the beginning and maybe they will not know the diffence when they leave. I also agree that the guy will probably fail. He could wake up and be a good LCO. Only time will tell.
  7. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,955

    b121 -- Non compete ain't sh$t cuz it's always up to you tp prove wrong. So throw that out the window.

    Anytime you consistantly catch an employee telling "white lies" or making excuses....that raises a red flag.

    Tough situation for sure. The guy "stole" from you, your family, your nest egg. ie: he's a "low rent".

    I have no good advice (sorry). Do what you gotta do. Time/headache for sure. Many low rents exist in our Country nowadays, and that's a shame. The good old USA ain't the same anymore. (Been in this industry since 1978).

    I chose not to "rehire" an employee this winter for the same reasons. He got pissed, then posted on my (personal) facebook account spewing complete lies. All my guys are glad he's gone, cuz they knew his lack of character.

    Bottom line for your situation... no good answers. Very sorry. Next time, try to "nip it in the bud"??

    In the mean time -- keep your chin up. Things always work out. :usflag:
  8. Working Man

    Working Man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    If he is lying to customers as you say he is get it in writing. That is slander and you can sue for damages. If you do nothing it only allows him to further slander you. You need proof of why and how you fired him and proof of what he is saying. It will be up to him to prove that you're wrong if you have witnesses and he doesn't.
  9. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,725

    I fired an employee last Sept I plan on letting him know hes fired in the next few weeks. His personality type is such I want to make sure my accounts were safe before letting him go. Some people have no ethics at all so you gotta do what you can to protect yourself from them. He will probably continue to collect on me for the full 99 weeks but only the first 26 count against me so best of luck with that.
  10. b121774

    b121774 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 207

    I will now have all foremen sign non-compete agreements. I believe it will scare them enough not to try to solicit my accounts if they do leave. I have a foreman now who has a small side business, knew that before I hired him. Gave him the agreement this morning to sign. Most of these guys are to stupid to know it might not hold up in court.

    The lies the guys telling the customer's he's approaching is that I pay under the table and he wanted to buy a house and be put on the books. he told them that when he asked me that I said no and its be paid under the table or no job. That was why he no longer works for me.

    There was a time, several years ago I paid him partially cash, between $3-$4 hr to keep costs down, but I went fully on the books due to tax issues.

    He was making $19.50 hr plus cell phone and a $300 month gas allotment. All on the book's.

    His recent post on facebook say's he has started his round of Pre/fert and mentions specifically Dimension so will definately past that on to the AG dept. Hopefully they will pursue it but with California's budget problem's, IDK.

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