Misguided Insult To Misguided Injury: HP Sues To Stop Mark Hurd From Taking New Job

from the what-a-waste dept

The most credible explanation I've seen so far as to why HP fired Mark Hurd last month, even after it determined that he had not actually engaged in sexual harassment, was that the Mark Hurd help lead the investigation into the board over the infamous pretexting scandal, and that the whole story about the supposed harassment and fudged expense reports were just an excuse to get rid of a CEO the board didn't like -- even as he was performing tremendously well.

If that explanation is actually true, it also helps explain the news that HP is now going to sue Hurd for accepting his new job as President at Oracle. As HP's lawyers absolutely must know, California has a law that the courts have interpreted quite broadly, that says noncompete agreements are not enforceable, because you cannot deny a person the right to earn a living. HP is (weakly) trying to get around this by claiming the job shift would violate "confidentiality agreements" and trade secrets, but there's almost no chance a court buys that. The lawsuit seems like a non-starter. In fact, the only reason for filing the lawsuit really seems to be an absolute pest. It's an incredibly childish move by a company that should know better.

Filed Under: confidentiality, mark hurd, noncompete, trade secrets
Companies: hp, oracle


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2010 @ 4:13pm

    The general rule in California is that such agreements are not enforceable. However, there are recognized exceptions...and in this instance such exceptions may apply given the individual's broad insight into HP's current and future business plans.

    If a contract is in place between HP and its former CEO concerning a severance package, this too could constitute an independent basis for challenging his going to work at Oracle.

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