Can a former employee use photographs of jobs completed whie working for me in marketing material for a new business?
What is the definition of unfair business practices in regard to moral rights or trade secrets? I am a specialty contractor in Texas, licensed and insured. I specialize in the installation of custom built fences and decks. I had an employee that worked for me for approx. 4 months. This employee has never been in this industry before working for my company. After 4 months of employment, he quit, and decided he knew the fence industry, and wanted to start his own fence company, in the same area. The ex employee took the knowledge I gave him in secret and confidence that gave me economic advantage over competitors, and used that knowledge for self gain. I have a Marketing and Advertising Consultant, which I pay top dollar, and this employee went to them to start his own business. Along with the knowledge I taught him, he also took pictures of a few completed projects that I contracted and completed, and put them on his website, claiming them as his own. My question...Is this a legitimate civil lawsuit against the ex-employee for taking pictures of projects that were completed under my license and insurance, and posting them on a website through this advertising consultant, and claiming this as his pictures of completed projects under his business name? The contract that was signed by the homeowner was sold by me, designed by me, I did the material take-off for the job, I scheduled the job, I hired this man as a sub-contractor for the job, I was present during installation on the project, I did the walk-thru with the homeowner after production, myself and the homeowner signed the Completion Certificate in regard to the project with them acknowledging they were satisfied with the materials and service rendered in compliance per our contract...the ex-employee was just a helper to build the project.Period. Does this give him the right to take photos of the project, and allow him to post the photos of a website, as if he were the one to design, sell and build the project shown in the pictures. The website consist of approx. 12 photos of projects that I contracted, and completed, but he posted them as if he was the designer and contractor on the projects. I fell that under Standard of Professional Conduct this is not right, and a violation of ethics. I feel this has caused irreparable harm to my business. Your knowledge will be of great help. And, if you are here in Texas and for hire please contact me via e-mail.
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