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Is stealing your boss's clients ethical?

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I used to have an employee & I have to admit that though he's almost always 90% late to the office, including when he showed up for an interview the first time I met him, he works a lot better than the others.

Since last year I've discovered that he also set up the same company as me, and what makes it even worse is that he's taken (stolen) my clients to become his.

Of course he's never honest about his business to me, and I found out from his facebook page, and to my horror that all of his clients used to be mine, too, but now have turned to him because they happen to be of the same race & religion as him (in my country, racism & religion are still big issues).

But what upsets me now is that he just quits quietly, never replies my text message, never returns my calls, but keep stealing my clients.

I'm upset because after all the hard work that I've done to make him 'superb' has only makes him betray me. I feel like I've been stabbed from behind.

What do you think about it? Is this ethical of what he has done to me???



I think we can all agree that this is certainly not ethical of your [former] employee & shame on them for doing this to you--although some would possibly argue that this is the cruel nature of "business as usual". Either way, there are lessons to be learned here (as I'm sure you already know).

I hope you had this employee (& all employees) sign a "non-compete agreement" when they were first hired. If so, go after this employee legally under this signed agreement. If no such agreement was ever signed, start having all employees sign said agreement[s] immediately; but still contact an attorney to see if you can go after this employee for stealing your clients.

If you have no legal options with this employee, try to get your clients back by offering better service, lower rate, etc--fight fire with fire & play the game better than your scoundrel employee. Remember, you're the established savvy one, they're the newbie. Put that experience & wisdom to work & fight back! But either way, try not to take it too personal & just do your best to learn from this experience so that it doesn't ever happen again!

I hope this helps & best wishes with all future endeavors!


Definitely not ethical. Trust needs to be earned not a given.

Pull the plug, meet up with your clients that he stole and let them know that they are dealing with someone who is unethical and not trustworthy.

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