MISCONDUCT DISCHARGE, Competing with employer, Conflict of interest
CITE AS: Whiting v The Upjohn Co, No. 732-367 A, Kalamazoo Circuit Court (January 17, 1975).
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Edwin F. Whiting
Employer: The Upjohn Company
Docket No: B72 4501 41929
CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where a claimant has responsibility for the production of a specific pharmaceutical product, and privately counsels an outsider on the establishment of a firm to manufacture the same drug in Canada, the employer has grounds for discharging the claimant for misconduct.
FACTS: The plaintiff is the claimant. He " ... was head of Chemical Services, Fermentation Products, Fine Chemicals Division. This department produced, among other things, a drug known as Lincomycin. It came to the attention of the Upjohn Company that the plaintiff was counseling with a friend of his who was seeking to establish a new company in Canada to produce drugs, one of which was to be Lincomycin. Plaintiff admits counseling with a Mr. Harris with reference to organization of such a company and soliciting monies from potential investors."
DECISION: The claimant was discharged for misconduct.
RATIONALE: "The proofs showed that plaintiff had been considering other employment and on his own time and without pay was assisting Mr. Harris in the organization of a company which would compete with the Upjohn Company and in soliciting monies from potential investors in order to get the company started. It is the opinion of this Court that the Appeals Board was correct in its determination inasmuch as this Court feels that the conduct of the plaintiff evidenced a wilful or wanton disregard of his employer's (Upjohn Company) interests."