back to article Big Blue sues exec for joining Oracle

IBM is suing Joanne Olsen - a 31-year veteran of the company who used to be general manager of its services division. Olsen was tempted away to join Oracle by Larry Ellison after the purchase of Sun Microsystems - which put the two firms in more direct competition. Big Blue complains that Olsen was contractually obliged to take …

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12 months gardening leave?!

12 months pay without work sounds like a pretty awesome way to spend a year!

Guess she got bored eventually though.

Perhaps she should have merely done some low-profile 'consulting' for them, rather than blatantly taking a job.

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Garden

if someone told me not to work for a year, our garden would flourish!

Ms Olson is too greedy!

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Paid leave? Or restriction on next job?

Don't know about the US, but in the UK it's well-established that restricting where you work next is illegal, due to restriction of trade. It may be in your contract, but it's unenforceable.

OTOH, if she's being paid for this time off, then she's still under contract to Big Blue. In which case they're entitled to tell her what she can do on company time.

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Not quite

Restricting where you work next is, as you say, illegal int eh UK, however enforced gardening leave is legal if in your contract.

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Paris Hilton

The law gets it right, for once

Apparently anything the law deems "unreasonable" in a contract is unenforceable.

Given that, having built up expertise in a particular field, technical people are likelier to look for jobs in that field (and probably likelier to get them), this particular one makes good sense.

Paris, because she seems to keep much the same specialties throughout her career.

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Silver badge
Boffin

Not exactly...

This is always a source of confusion.

First, IBM has certain people sign a second employment agreement .

In this agreement, they contract names only a couple of companies specifically.

This is legal because you can't argue that "right to work" is being violated. The employee can go to other companies than the ones mentioned. So the contract is not overly burdensome.

The time off is unpaid.

What usually happens is that companies settle their issues, or the court case rolls on long enough that the waiting period expires.

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FAIL

Genius

Because suing your employees is such a great HR policy.

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There's a CV point for a young executive...

"In 2010, I was sued by former employer for being unable to follow contractual obligations that, in my chosen field and managerial level, are routine and customary. Regardless of the outcome of the case, I put my interests ahead of my employer's and I will be a barnacle on the organization in future positions, though perhaps a productive one."

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Non Competition Agreements

Are basically worthless. I've seen two fail in the last year, and I've told that they are almost worthless as they are unenforceable.

Only winners here are the lawyers.

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Unhappy

Non Competition Agreements

Having joined a competittive company and hit with a non compete beleive me when you can be dragged through the courts for 18 months until you are exhausted financially. If the company has the will to restrict you they will and can, only after 18 months when you win do you really realise that you have lost!

Whilst not strictly enforceable the legal system can be drawn out long enough to effectively enfore it, I too thought they were not worth paper they were written on, after 12 months in court I folded against the company and took gardening leave!!

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Pint

Non Competition Contracts

I think it really depends on a few things whether a non competition contract is enforceable or not.

If the company is in direct competition of the company you are leaving and if you have inside knowledge. The other time I have seen it enforced (and it came to court). I was told later that a lot hinged on a right-to-work state, which from what I was told screws the employee and that the legislation was written by corporate types.

I have heard of a programmer who wrote this nice routine on company "A"'s time and then quit and went to work for company "B". Company A sued and won because the program was developed on company "A"'s time.

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Unhappy

Non Competition Agreements

Having joined a competitive company and hit with a non compete beleive me when you can be dragged through the courts for 18 months until you are exhausted financially. If the company has the will to restrict you they will and can, only after 18 months when you win do you really realise that you have lost!

Whilst not strictly enforceable the legal system can be drawn out long enough to effectively enfore it, I too thought they were not worth paper they were written on, after 12 months in court I folded against the company and took gardening leave!!

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Anonymous Coward

If she went to work in California

Then she's free and clear, as I understand CA law. IF she went to work in NY or PA, she's probably screwed.

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