back to article RIM sues Motorola

Research in Motion is suing Motorola for not allowing laid-off employees to seek work with the owner of the Blackberry brand, who is hoping to scoop up some cheap engineers now that Motorola is shedding so many. The two companies signed an agreement, back in February, to prevent either company from pinching staff from the other …

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Anonymous Coward

Err

"most civilised countries recognise that specialists have a limited number of potential employers"

So are there any civilised countries involved, or is it all based in the U.S.?

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Stop

Friggin in the riggin

Typical modern American legal scenario - they'll fuck each other into oblivion whilst the Chinese continue their onslaught on World markets. Time they woke up and remembered what America used to be all about - why it was once great. Maybe Obama can give them the kick in the arse they need. No more than they deserve really.

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Black Helicopters

Why RIM?

I don't see why RIM should sue. It seems more to me that the ex-employees should have a easy win class action against Motorola. Why should they be forced to flip burgers or starve rather than work in the industry for which they are best suited? Given the economy, any jury would side with the employees, if they can get a jury and not a corrupt Judge (it is Chicago after all.) It would be nice to finally see these non-compete clauses declared void. If a company is that afraid their ex-s will out compete them into bankruptcy, they should do whatever they can to be sure they don't become ex-s. I wonder if GM tells the people it lets go they can't work for Ford or start their own auto making business.

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Stop

Android

"anyone who knows Android is OK"

Yeah, for now. What sort of organisation will be left ?

I guess there is no equivalent of the Bosman ruling in the US. If you're made redundant/sacked there is no way that you should be prevented from being re-employed unless terms are in an agreement that YOU have signed. Some agreement between organisations of this nature is very suspect...

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dan

RE: Err

U.S. and Canada involved here.

I feel that there is an easy solution for these no-compete agreements... establish a contractual agreement stating that Motorola can prevent a former employee from being employee by a direct competitor if they continue to pay the individual 20% of their salary... it should make the company think through terminations, and will also help narrow down the 'sensitive' individuals instead of casting a wide net.

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Silver badge

Countries?

Illinois is a right to work state.

While Moto and Rim may battle things out, the real issue is that with AT&T aka Bell Labs in Naperville IL not hiring (most of the work has been shipped off to overseas offshoring sites) what is one to do.

Telephony handsets and switches has a limited number of companies. (Nokia, Tellabs, AT&T, Moto, Rim, etc ...) Since a lot of the workers at Moto couldn't qualify for a security clearance, you can forget Rockwell.

Also note that most of these companies are having a hiring freeze so the number and types of jobs are limited.

Since Illinois is a right to work state, Moto can sue, but the would lose the case.

To also make things interesting, RIM doesn't have a physical plant in IL. (At least none that I have seen.) So if they are hiring the staff, these staff would have to relocate to Canada. If they are being hired as work at home... well that would make things interesting.

A lot has to do with the noncompete clauses in their employee agreement.

1) How much of a burden is placed on the worker.

2) Term of non compete

3) Types of restrictions, what or how a competitor is defined

4) Compensation for the non-compete agreement.

IMHO, moto should let some of these slackers go. After all, if you're trying to rebuild your handset business from the ground up, do you want the same people who made design and coding mistakes to build your new products?

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@dan

"...establish a contractual agreement stating that Motorola can prevent a former employee from being employee by a direct competitor if they continue to pay the individual 20% of their salary..."

Why not 100% of the salary? The corp is still forcing it's desires on people. But even that misses the point. These corp agreements are an attempt to restrict the basic human rights of the ex-employees in question.

(1) Life, *liberty*, and the freedom to pursue happiness. (2) People have a *right to life*. (3) Peace, order, and the *common welfare* (this is the original intro to the BNA Act).

Any of those sacred cows, and others, directly imply the right to seek employment without interference from gov't or other powerful orgs - read corps. If you don't understand how that works then I suggest a careful reading of Ayn Rand's analysis of what the right to life means.

Put it this way: a slaughterhouse lays off it's employees, having previously arranged that said ex-employees cannot get work at other slaughterhouses - because it's laid off employees are skilled at slaughtering. Is it becoming a bit clearer? How about 7-11 and Macs corner stores?

All you have here is that high tech capitalists have discovered that human talent of individual people - labour - is just as important as their capital. So they seek to restrict the rights and freedoms of the the talented people to sell their work.

If there are any victims of these corp policies reading this: I suggest you get together and look at a class action law suit. This behaviour of corps will not withstand a constitutional or common law challenge that appeals to peoples' basic human and civil rights. Which rights are fundamental in all western democracies and trump corporate contracts. I think the corporate deals would be found to be illegal contracts. There could actually be sizable damages to be found against the corps.

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Dex

Surely....

...If you get fired by Motorola you are no longer bound to thier terms of employment thus they can't stop you going to RIM? If RIM openly place ads and ex-motorola purely by chance seem to go to the interviews there is naff all motorola can do about it.

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Go

Agreed with 17:04 (mostly)

If one organization seeks to prevent a former employee taking a position in a competitive organization it seems fair and reasonable for that organization to pay a full salary to the former employee.

It does not seem to be a former employees responsibility that he has access to specialist skills and knowledge that may be covered by some agreement.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Alert

RIM is moving to Dallas, not Chicago

RIM is shrinking their Waterloo operations because graduates from the University Of Waterloo and University Of Toronto are under-performing, and because the business isn't sexy enough to get tax subsidies and federal grants anymore.

Between the dot-com enrollment bust, and the province saying "pass 80% of your undergraduates or lose funding", the availability of quality human resources that are willing to work burn-out hours has decreased to the point that Ontario is too expensive for this kind of business.

It is much more likely that people being hired in Chicago are being given job offers for the new RIM campus in Dallas. Many of RIM's top-performers have already moved there, or are getting ready for the transfer.

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Unhappy

Err Got It About Right.

The argument seems to be, when we were only denying a few people gainful employment that was fine, but once there were more fish in the barrel, then the agreement was no longer binding. A pox on both their houses.

Such an agreement between employers should never be in forcible. That such an agreement was entered into should result in both companies paying steep penalties and large sums to all of those laid off.

A non compete clause would apply only to the employer and those employees who left one or the other company voluntarily. Certainly and employer can, as a condition of employment, and at the time one is hired, restrict the ability of an employee to voluntarily separate service and take up with a competitor.

That is not what happened here. The employees were, as I understand it, terminated not, by contrast, furloughed until things picked up. Once terminated, they ceased to be employees and that status was not voluntary. To enforce a non compete agreement under such circumstances amounts to slavery, or at least a scheme to assure that the workers never work in this industry again.

Sadly, I will not be surprised to find that the courts find no fault with the agreement between RIM and Motorola. Having not seen the percise language of the agreement, I doubt the number of such employees available due to lay offs has any bearing on the agreement's validity.

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E

Civil & human rights.

Under what ethical code can a corporation tell a human - esp. one it has just laid off - who the human may work for?

You can bring up points of law or contracts between corps, but the fundamental point I make stands.

This way lies a species of serfdom.

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Anonymous Coward

I may be wrong (or drunk) but

I read this not as a case of Motorola adding clauses to its workforce preventing them working at RIM but as a case of RIM and Motorola agreeing that they would not hire each other's staff

Although there are amicus type possibilities here it seems to me the contractual agreement between RIM and Motorola is nothing to do with the individuals who may have worked for one or the other.

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Anonymous Coward

If I was the judge

I would award one cent damages, and make sure both sides paid their own costs, and a fee was paid by both for the court's time.

Both companies have acted in an anti competitive fashion, at the expense of the people.

Outrageous, the workers should take them both to court.

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