Ethical Job Problem

This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew Garulay, RLA 1 month, 1 week ago.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #3559341

    chezron
    Participant

    I was just laid off from my job. To add insult to injury, he went through my entire office and through all of my personal things before giving me back only some of my things. I had four books made of my designs that I used to spur my creativity if I ever got stuck. They cost around a hundred dollars apiece to have them made. He kept all four books, also the books I drew in when creating designs, all of my project notes, and I didn’t realize it until I got home and unpacked the boxes he gave me. I asked him about it and he completely lied. How should I handle this? I am in so much pain from betrayal. They always told me a did a great job.

    #3559342

    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    Forgive me if I’m not understanding this properly.

    I don’t know if the books you had made and the ones you made with notes were of things that you designed on projects that the firm was doing or things outside of the firm.

    Their projects are technically their copyright material even the parts that you did while working for them unless it is work that you were stamping yourself. They have every right to protect their material. They have no obligation to allow you to use the parts of their projects that you worked on as portfolio material. It may not seem fair, but stuff generated by an employee working on their projects is THEIR intellectual property. You have no right to have books made of the work that you did while working for them. …. especially true if there is no reference to the firm on the work.

    Totally different story if these works are nothing to do with their projects.

    #3559343

    chezron
    Participant

    Thank you Andrew for clarifying this for me.

    #3559345

    Lee Martin
    Participant

    From the ASLA ethics page, https://www.asla.org/ContentDetail.aspx?id=4276. The 2nd sentence is more relevant.

    [from R1.109] “Commentary: Members shall not take credit for work performed under the direction of a former employer beyond the limits of their personal involvement and shall give credit to the performing firm. Employers should give departing employees access to work that they performed, reproduced at cost, and a description of the employee’s involvement in the work should be noted on each product and acknowledged by the employer.”

    Bottom line, the work you did is yours, unless you signed some sort of agreement stating otherwise. Your former employer may beg to differ as to what your role was. Going forward, I encourage you and anybody working for somebody else to be diligent about saving copies of work. Document the heck out of what you did as you go.

    Best of luck to you!

    #3559346

    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    The first sentence says “shall”. The second sentence says “should”. That is a very big difference.

    My opinion is that the employer should have let her have the work unless the work is of a nature that they feel they need to protect it. I also think the employee should have asked if it is alright to have professionally made books of work done in their firm.

    We assume that the material is being saved for a portfolio, but sometimes it goes beyond that to be used as marketing. That is why firms need to protect themselves.

    Interns and entry level people should be up front and have discussions with their employers about being able to save portfolio material from the get go. Employers understand that people in this profession need to build a portfolio and should be able to set some guidelines to protect themselves and help those growing in the profession.

    #3559348

    chezron
    Participant

    My employer knew about the books. He thought it was a good idea. This was all my work. I understand that this might be an intellectual property issue, and if he had said THAT, rather than lie and steal, I would understand (somewhat). Unfortunately, for me, the books were pricey to make as I used really good paper, so I am out about 400 dollars.

    #3559353

    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    If he knew and did not disapprove, I think you are in the right for wanting them back.

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