There is an interesting story out in technology, and it is far more interesting if you are a laid-off or disgruntled technology employee. Bloomberg has a report outlining a lawsuit where Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) sued Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) over claims that Motorola is improperly blocking R-I-M from offering jobs even to laid-off or soon to be laid-off Motorola workers.
The report notes that R-I-M is seeking to invalidate a non-solicitationpact which the company said expired in August and is unenforceable.What is interesting is that this is not just covering key personnel.Motorola is reportedly trying to prevent laid off workers or those aresoon to be laid off from joining the competition.
There have been many labor issues around this. Generally speaking,laid off workers and highly disgruntled workers are ultimately able togo work where they want. There are many exceptions, but companies haveto do more than just offer a paycheck as incentives (and demands) tokeep their employees from crossing the line.
But here is the interesting aspect, and one which can end up becomingcase law. When companies lay-off their employees with or withoutseverance packages, or even start furloughing employees without pay,then the company better expect that the worker is going to see if theywork for competition.
Even if there is no bad blood created, workers generally find it easierto stay within the same industry as they are already proficient in. Inshort, technology workers rarely want to go out and become hamburgerflippers or become account reps at temporary staffing firms. There isalso the issue of them having mortgages and bills.
If you constantly restructure or are steadily laying off workers, thenyour right to prevent those workers from going elsewhere should be nulland void.
Motorola management is starting to look more and more like the kidsthat put their heads down on a bat and spin around in circles. It onlytakes a few times before they start flopping over and can’t get up.
Jon C. Ogg
December 24, 2008
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