Power Engineers is suing a former employee for going to work for a competitor and taking several Power employees with him, according to court documents.
The Hailey-based engineering company, which now has offices all over the United States and in two foreign countries, sued Anthony Asciutto, a former project manager for Power Engineers subsidiary Power Testing and Energization, after he went to work for competitor Western Electrical Services.
The company complains in the lawsuit, filed May 30 in Ada County District Court, that it spent time and money training Asciutto and the departing employees, causing damages when they left for Western.
Asciutto allegedly signed a document preventing him from soliciting any Power Engineers or PTE employees within a year of leaving the company after he took advantage of an opportunity to buy company stock in 2007.
Asciutto declined to comment for this story.
The lawsuit states that Asciutto spent at least an hour speaking to Western Electrical Services management on the phone during work hours in December when still employed by PTE. It also alleges he convinced four employees to work for Western before and after he left PTE.
“As a result of the foregoing, (Power Engineers and PTE) have been irreparably harmed and have been deprived of the benefit and experience of key employees who now directly compete against (them),” the lawsuit states.
According to the lawsuit, Asciutto signed an agreement while purchasing Power Engineers stock that expressly prohibited soliciting other employees to leave.
“The employee shall not, directly or indirectly, either for himself/herself or any other person or entity, solicit, induce or recruit, or attempt to solicit induce or recruit any employee of Power to leave the employ of Power, (or) in any way interfere with the employment relationship between Power and any employee thereof,” the agreement states.
Western officials were aware of the breach, the lawsuit alleges, citing a conversation the PTE president had at a conference in Texas where he confronted a Western official with details of the agreement. The Western official responded that there are “ways around non-compete agreements,” according to the lawsuit.
Western is not a named defendant in the case, however.
Power Engineers is asking for an undisclosed amount of damages, including attorney fees. Company officials have declined to speak with the Idaho Business Review.r