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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"Ask Liz Ryan" LISTSERV: "My Human Capital (IP) was Stolen": REF: ____________


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11a.

My Human Capital was stolen

Posted by: "Abbe Buck Hann, HVCG" mail: abbe@highviz.net

Wed Apr 9, 2008 4:57 pm (PDT)

Liz, I was working for a company in Dulles, VA. I worked there for two months. The COO was going to hire me as a consultant but then agreed to me being an employee when the COO told me that he wanted to hire me in earnest and he wanted me to help his company grow. He was most convincing. After just two months, without warning I was dismissed, and all of my files, and IP (Intellectual Property) and my contacts, my network, my "Human Capital" was stolen. All of my electronic files that were left on my desktop were not allowed to be taken off my computer, and were kept by the COO, whom I reported to. He never even returned my personal files.I was given a settlement agreement letter that said I would receive two weeks severance if I agreed not to sue for discrimination of any kind. There were also forms of illegal happenings there. People were billed direct to contracts when they worked at company HQ. The COO also said his company was worth 70 MM as a government contractor and that he ran a mid-range business. When digging further, his true billings (true value) is around 19 MM. There is more, and I know now that I should have been careful. It was my first foray into being a true 'employee' in a very long time. No doubt it may be my last! I have found an attorney (I must have this letter back within 21 days, and I want to ask for damages). What is hard to take is that this COO is also a small business owner as many of us are. It reminds me of a quote by Jack Welch, who said in his book "Winning" , "Face Reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be." Do not use people. The bad behavior WILL come back to you, babe. In spades.Abbe Buck, Principal Consultant(NOTE FROM LIZ: What a horrible story, Abbe. And two weeks severance is a pathetically small amount for them to try to buy you off with. I am so sorry to hear about it. I hope your attorney is handling the situation for you. DC is such a close-knit town especially where government business is concerned, so you've got to believe that the word will spread. As you said, the chickens will come home to roost. Thanks, Liz)
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11b.
Re: My Human Capital was stolen
Posted by: "S. Nearby" mailto:snearby@gmail.com?Subject=someonenearby
Wed Apr 9, 2008 10:11 pm (PDT)
I'm so sorry this happened to you.This is also a good warning, though, to the rest of us: NEVER keepANYTHING on your work computer that you don't want the world at workto see, and ALWAYS keep copies of your own stuff offsite! And if youdo work-for-hire, know your stuff about who owns the rights to what.Most bigger companies have clear policies about computer use, andthese nearly always say something like "you have no privacy and allyour files belong to us". I can see where this could be a realminefield at a startup.Me, I am a big fan of "Remote Desktop". I keep *all* my personal emailat home (or on Gmail) and *all* my work stuff at work, and if I wantto check my personal stuff during the day I either connect out to myown computer, or "pop" the mail leaving a copy on the server and thendelete it immediately from my work machine. Same thing with working athome: I connect to my work computer and do the work there. The only"personal" stuff on my work computer is a tiny bit of email arranginglunch dates and other such oneliners, and friends' resumes forwardedto me at work. If I end up with something personal at work I email itto myself. (and I keep copies at home of work forms and such)I learned this the hard way, after a couple of layoffs, two with "perp walks"!
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1 comment:

HighViz PR said...

see jvh's question, send liz ruan -- aldo