Is it ethical for an employee to start a similar business?


Is ethical for an employee quitting to start a similar business?

What do you think?

Employees Ethics Business Morality

asked Jul 31 '11 at 01:54
Sd Reyes
156 points
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2 Answers


It's ok and very reasonable to quit and start a business in a similar space. If you worked for 10 years in the advertising market, I expect you to start a business in advertising, not switch to hardware engineering :-)

There are some pretty clear unethical actions, that you should stay far, far away from. Basically taking any inside knowledge about existing contracts, going to customers to move them over to your new business, taking technology or code that belongs to your previous employer, etc.

answered Jul 31 '11 at 03:16
Alain Raynaud
10,927 points
  • The details of what's ethical will also depend on the nature of the business, how competitive you will be with your ex-employer, the norms in your industry, any non-compete agreements you may have signed, etc. For instance, if you worked at a gas station, and then decide to open one up 100 miles away, it might be fine to take along a lot of information because you're not really competitive. It would be another story if you're going into direct competition nearby, or in a niche national/international market with few players. – Bob Murphy 12 years ago
  • thank you very much for your insights. after reading this, I realize that if you respect the agreements and do not incur in any unethical activity as Alain mentioned, it's fine. thank you again. – Sd Reyes 12 years ago


I think yes, as long as you do the best you can not to use your former company's intellectual property in your products/services. I'd bet that most startups are created by employees who can provide similar products/services at higher quality and lower cost than their employers.

answered Aug 8 '11 at 06:03
Tony D
41 points

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