Re: Non-Competition Agreements for Technical Writers - ethical issues

Subject: Re: Non-Competition Agreements for Technical Writers - ethical issues
From: Sean Wheller <sean -at- inwords -dot- co -dot- za>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com, svi -at- ieee -dot- org
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 08:00:39 +0200

On Friday 15 September 2006 00:17, Svi Ben-Elya wrote:
> There is an interesting discussion in Israel on the Non-Competition
> Agreements or clauses that tech writers are asked to sign by outsourcing
> companies. The discussion began on Techshoret (the Israeli equivalent of
> Techwr-l) by a new immigrant tech writer concerned about signing an
> agreement that would potentially prevent her from continuing to work as a
> tech writer in Israel if and when she left the outsourcer. The issues are
> both legal (is it enforcable) and ethical.
> The discussion is now continuing on with different
> pages for comments on different ethical questions. If there is some type of
> consensus or local industry standard for these agreements that comes out of
> the discussion, I will be more than happy to summarize. I would like to get
> input from all of you because even though the legal aspects may be relevant
> only to Israel, the ethical ones are similar elsewhere.

Hello Svi,

Nice to hear you again and good to see you are still pressing ahead with the

Having lived and worked in Israel I am familiar with the type of non-competion
exclusions you are discussing. The longest I have ever signed was for a
3-year period. However, I have been requested to sign on period of 15-years.

I always found these agreements to be a shotgun affair, with very little
choice. The attitude was, like it or love it. If you wanted to make it change
you had to be prepared to lose the contract, which often did happen.

Now working internationally, I found that requests to sign non-competion are
not that common, but do happen. I have yet to be presented an unreasonable
period, like 15-years. The maximum I have seen is 2-years.

There is another aspect to non-competion. That being between contracting
entities. At InWords we use non-competition between ourselves and our team of
writers. As you know, all of our team are contractors and are located in
various parts of the world. Our non-competition is there to prevent customer
poaching and has nothing to do with working for a competator company or a
competator company to our customers.

Just thought I would throw this in the mix as I thought you may want to build
it into your survey somehow.

All the best,

Ask me about the Monkey.

Sean Wheller
Technical Author
sean -at- inwords -dot- co -dot- za

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Non-Competition Agreements for Technical Writers - ethical issues: From: Svi Ben-Elya

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