What to do if my ex-company is running a commercial in my area with me in it but I consider it a conflict of interest as I own my own business now in same field?

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What to do if my ex-company is running a commercial in my area with me in it but I consider it a conflict of interest as I own my own business now in same field?

The company where I worked for 13 years laid me off. Before doing so they filmed a commercial that I was in but not compensated for. I have opened my own business (glass installation) that is in the same line of work as it is a trade. This commercial is now running constantly in my area and I am being questioned about it. This is conflict of interest to me. Do I have any rights??

Asked on August 25, 2012 under Business Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you gave them permission to film and run a commercial involving you, then they may do so. Presumably, since you were working there at the time and did not want to lose your job or otherwise suffer sanction by refusing to be in the commercial, you did, either explicitly or implicitly, agree  to allow them to do this. You could possibly argue that an implicit part of that agreement was that the commercial could only run so long as they employed you, and you may be able to go to court to get an injunction requiring them to stop running it on that basis; however, be aware that since a court would almost certainly have no trouble finding that you at least initially permitted the commercial (while you were employed), you cannot assume that you would win--there is a reasonable chance they will be able to continue running it.


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