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I have a side business with a website in a particular space (known to be a very competitive space as well). My company has taken on a client in that space.

Should I disclose that I have a small website in this space? It shouldn't conflict with the goals of the company, or the client, and currently my boss doesn't really know about my extracurriculars.

The question is - how do you determine a conflict of interest, and decide when to disclose it, when disclosing it might hurt you?

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    Do you have a no-side-activities clause in your contract? – Erik Feb 18 '16 at 9:18
  • What do you mean with 'space'? – Jan Doggen Feb 18 '16 at 12:50
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    Did you start that business prior to or during your current job? What does your contract say about side jobs? – Jan Doggen Feb 18 '16 at 12:51
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Yes, you should mention it. The company can probably solve this by assigning you to work on something that doesn't put you in conflict with this customer.

Not declaring it puts you and the company in a much more awkward position when (not if) it is discovered later.

  • You may want to turn your autocorrect back on if you're answering on the go. ;) – Lilienthal Feb 18 '16 at 11:30
  • No, there is not enough manpower for this. – Joe Smentz Feb 18 '16 at 13:47
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    @rond: It's up to msnagement to decide what, uf anything needs to be done about it, but they need to know.- – keshlam Feb 18 '16 at 13:56
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You need to check with your company's policies on disclosure. Many have governance policies & procedures for handling potential conflicts, including rules for determining whether something is a conflict or not.

My employer requires that I disclose all outside activities that may conflict (business or time/attention) with my ability to perform my job properly. That means side jobs of any kind, volunteering, etc. The governance committee then reviews the disclosures & determines if they represent a conflict of interest.

Disclosure may not be required before hiring, but it'll probably be in the paperwork you fill out when you show up the first day.

In an environment like mine, it's generally best for your continued employment to be up-front and honest, and disclose things even if you don't think they really present a problem.

Regardless of the outcome of the disclosure, do not work on that side project while on the clock, nor with company resources.

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    If the company has policies on disclosure and you don't follow them, when you get caught, you very well could be fired for cause. I have never worked for a company that did not have such a policy that I have to sign off on annually so they are the norm at all but the smallest companies. – HLGEM Feb 18 '16 at 14:25

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