I've had the experience of a project manager awarding a subcontractor with work on a project and then immediately quitting to work with for the contractor company.

The PM convinced the sub to lowball the bid, which causes a different set of problems I will not go into. As well, the relationship between the company and the sub has begun to sour.

It would appear that there was no non-compete clause in the PM's contract, and my company seems to have let it slide in order to move forward and just get the job done. From my own perspective, the move to jump ship was fueled by their own dissatisfaction rather than the motive everyone in the thread seems to be assuming first.

Is there a breach of ethics or law for such a scenario just out of curiosity?

I'm not looking for legal advice, more of how to interpret the scenario realistically, the behavior of the PM, and more importantly, any advice on tuning my own behavior as someone stuck in between my own company and the sub that I now communicate with to finish the job, that may not be obvious.

  • You would be better consulting a Lawyer. If your manager signed some Non Disclosure or Non competence Agreement or similar he might get in trouble by doing that. – DarkCygnus Sep 14 '17 at 23:14
  • This is not really a "workplace" question, but one that is a legal matter. While you mention "breach of ethics", the scenario in your question suggests you are looking for legal advice. – psubsee2003 Sep 14 '17 at 23:58
  • Although I am not going to fill this question with a novels worth of information about the characters of this subject, It's best not to inject self created personality interpretations without more information about all the parties of the scenario. – BrokenRobot Sep 15 '17 at 21:35

Apart from any legal issues which we don't really discuss here (get a lawyer)

If you own the company and it was your project manager or you are in charge of the project, it's easy to deal with him if you want to just by using your leverage as a client. In a similar situation I just talked directly to the subcontractor in person and demanded she get rid of the guy or lose the contract.

If you are not in that position, there is basically nothing you can do.

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Unethical? Yes, there's a strong conflict of interest here.

Against the terms of the manager's employment contract or NDA? Quite possibly, but that's going to vary from employer to employer.

Illegal? In itself, probably no, although there may be related financial arrangements that could qualify as bribery: for example, if the quote was inflated and the manager gets a substantial pay raise on joining as their pay off.

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  • Actually this is a common form of corruption and its certainly gross misconduct and dependant on your legal system might well be Illegal. – Neuromancer Sep 15 '17 at 21:06

As others say, get a lawyer ASAP.

Back in here, in the public sector at least, you would have other firms/subcontractors demanding the clarification and voiding the entire process due to transparency/anti-corruption/fairness laws, and in the extreme side, your organization could even be sued if the project went ahead.

About it being a breach of ethics and conflit of interest there is absolutely no doubt, as per the legal consequences, it is highly location and industry specific.

However, if this becomes widely known, it has the potential to blemish your organization too.

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