Cease and desist progress?

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So, our industry continues to rebound, and the future of the plastics industry looks much brighter than it has in many years. We all deserve to feel very proud of our accomplishments.

With a brighter horizon, an interesting phenomenon is taking place in the industry. A talent migration is starting to occur in our industry wherein dynamic, talented, motivated employees are making decisions that haven’t been made for the past several years; that is, they are changing jobs.

At Plastic Components Inc, we have tried to position ourselves at the leading edge of the technology curve in the plastics industry, with multi-million dollar investments in facilities, technology and training. We want to be a magnet in our industry, and attract talented individuals in our industry who want to work with the newest “technology,” and have the latitude and freedom to reach their full potential. On top of that, we try to create a culture that attracts and motivates our employees to perform at a high level, and are rewarded accordingly. (Note: We are thrilled to be recognized as one of Plastics News “Best Places to Work for 2014.”)

There are many other firms in our industry who are doing the same thing; they are stepping on the accelerator and racing into the future with energy and optimism.

Or not!

Shortly after hiring two of our newest employees in the last few months, we have received letters from the attorneys representing their previous employers, referencing “Employment Agreements” and “Confidentiality Agreements” that were signed five and six years ago respectively. One letter was titled “Cease and Desist,” with the obvious legal threat that comes with a cease and desist letter.

The long-term success of our industry is tied to the migration of talented motivated employees toward firms who will recognize and reward that talent and away from those firms who don’t. Aside from the legitimate legal discussion about the enforceability of these documents, one has to question why an employer would require one, or why an employee would sign one.

As industry leaders, our job is to create a work environment that attracts, motivates and retains valuable employees. Creating and sustaining this culture is how our industry will grow and succeed. The artificial constraints of “legal bonds” are self-serving and backward-looking. The time to address the potential loss of valuable employees is before they leave you.

Tom Duffey


Plastic Components Inc.

Germantown, Wis.