Non-competition clauses are common in the technology industry and have recently made headlines again. IBM filed a suit against its ex-executive with allegations that her new position violates a year-long non-compete agreement. This has allowed for the company to implement similar efforts, in order to increase diversity.
The executive that worked for IBM for a period of greater than two decades, is now being sued on the basis of violating a non-compete agreement. She was said to have “abruptly resigned” making it all seem more like a ploy. Being a senior, she had knowledge of sensitive material and secrets that included recruitment strategies, plans, and initiatives. It is alleged that this information will be also utilized in her work performed for Microsoft and is, therefore, a violation of terms. IBM complained that, whether intentional or not, using and disclosing, its confidential and sensitive information would place the company at a competitive disadvantage. According to them, it is “inevitable” that she will not be able to do so. They further went on to state that she possesses “non-public diversity data, strategies, and initiatives — can cause real and immediate competitive harm.”
IBM sued in their filing, within a New York Federal Court, and succeeded in getting a restraining order preventing their ex-employee, who led diversity efforts from joining Microsoft. The conditions which IBM wish to impose are rather broad. It included a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction to prevent her from working for a year, in any position, anywhere in the world and for any company that is a competitor to IBM.