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Ethics Advice: Contacted by Someone Met at an Assignment
Thread poster: Yongmei Liu
Yongmei Liu  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:17
English to Chinese
+ ...
Mar 31, 2008

There is a general understanding that I shouldn't steal clients from the agency, but no formal agreement. Then the videographer for the assignment asked me if I was interested in another assignment (in another country, if that matters). I hesitated and the assignment eventually went to someone else.

Could I have offered my service without violating the "industry norms" - if there is such a thing? Keep in mind that there is no formal agreement and that I do not wish to antagonize the agency by behaving unreasonably.

Thanks a lot.

[Edited at 2008-03-31 01:24]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
Take... Mar 31, 2008

Take care of number one, my man, that agency isn't taking care of you, and you have no obligation to them.

You lost that one, next time think of number one.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:17
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Third party Mar 31, 2008

I think this would be acceptable because you would not be working directly for the same client but you would be referred on to a third party. Therefore you would not be taking away a client from the agency.

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Yongmei Liu  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:17
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's a different client Mar 31, 2008

Tina Vonhof wrote:

I think this would be acceptable because you would not be working directly for the same client but you would be referred on to a third party. Therefore you would not be taking away a client from the agency.


Indeed, it was for a totally UNaffiliated client.

Thanks for the advice.

Yongmei

[Edited at 2008-03-31 05:03]


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:17
Dutch to English
+ ...
You did not approach them Mar 31, 2008

Therefore, you are blameless. However, if you have a good relationship with the agency, I would inform them (in a very carefully worded statement) and "allow" them to give you permission (they cannot really refuse since you were approached).

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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:17
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
You did not actively "steal" the client Mar 31, 2008

Even if it were the same client, the case would at least be borderline because, as Marijke pointed out, you did nothing to actively approach the client, but were approached by them. As a result, this would not be covered by the non-compete clause imposed by the agency.

Steffen


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 01:17
French to English
+ ...
Agreed, but... Mar 31, 2008

I agree with most posters that this would not be an ethical (or legal) breach.

But what if the videographer had been sent by the same agency? I personally think this would still be OK but I'm a lot less sure about it. The videgrapher in question is not one of the agency's customers but they would be the agency's contact...

Any thoughts?

Terry.


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Yongmei Liu  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:17
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone for your input Mar 31, 2008

Terry Richards wrote:

I agree with most posters that this would not be an ethical (or legal) breach.

But what if the videographer had been sent by the same agency? I personally think this would still be OK but I'm a lot less sure about it. The videgrapher in question is not one of the agency's customers but they would be the agency's contact...

Any thoughts?

Terry.


If it were the same client, I would not accept work from them directly no matter who had initiated the dialogue.

In actuality, the videographer was acting as an agency, I believe, and trying to put together a package deal for this second client. He couldn't have been sent by the same agency, because that agency has my contact info and would contact me directly.

I do realize ethics rules are fuzzy sometimes and people can honestly have different takes on them.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:17
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Sorry, I misunderstood Mar 31, 2008

Sorry, I misunderstood. The videographer is not the end-client -- he is merely a colleague that you met during the course of your work for the end-client. He's fair game, IMO.

I disagree with Marijke and Steffen about you being blameless because you did not take the initiative. A non-poaching agreement is not a "non-approaching" agreement. In the absence of a clear clause in the contract, it doesn't really matter who approached whom (in my opinion).

[Edited at 2008-03-31 19:41]


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Alexander Chisholm  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:17
Italian to English
+ ...
Non-poaching vs. non-approaching Mar 31, 2008

I agree with Samuel.

If I was bound by an agreement to an agency, and one of their clients approached me to offer me work, I would feel obliged to refuse (doesn't mean I WOULD refuse!!).

The non-competition agreements I have seen and signed in the past make this quite clear - they would consider it poaching if I was to accept work from one of their clients unless I could demonstrate I had a working relationship with their client that predated my signing the usual non disclosure/non-competition agreement.


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 20:17
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...
Quote from an agency contract Mar 31, 2008

"By accepting this assignment the Linguist hereby represents, warrants, and agrees that the Linguist shall not (i) solicit the end client either directly or
indirectly for his/her benefit, their benefit or the benefit of any third party, (ii) accept solicitations for future assignments directly from the end client,
(iii) accept solicitations for future assignments from other sources who came into contact with the Linguist as a direct result of the Linguist’s
relationship with the end client through this assignment, or any other assignment from the Company [...]"


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:17
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Restrictive covenant that runs counter to freedom of business Apr 1, 2008

NancyLynn wrote:
"By accepting this assignment the Linguist hereby represents, warrants, and agrees that the Linguist shall not (i) solicit the end client either directly or
indirectly for his/her benefit, their benefit or the benefit of any third party, (ii) accept solicitations for future assignments directly from the end client,
(iii) accept solicitations for future assignments from other sources who came into contact with the Linguist as a direct result of the Linguist’s relationship with the end client through this assignment, or any other assignment from the Company
/quote]

I'd have extreme difficulty signing such a clause, especially with regard to items ii) and iii), because what it effectively means is, from the point of view of the agency, that you - as their service provider - will not be allowed ever (or at least during the term of the agreement) to accept any work from this client, even if it were, say, a big multinational, and if you were contacted by a different department located in another country. Where is the reasonable limit here? In extreme terms, giving in to such a provision may put your own business at a serious risk.

Steffen


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