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Cisco to HP: 'Stop suing former staffers'

Not a way to build loyalty

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Cisco’s chief legal officer Mark Chandler has publicly admonished HP for using legal action to stop former staff from working for the competition.

Chandler said that in the last two years HP had threatened legal action against three former staff members who sought to work at Cisco, citing non-compete clauses in their contracts. While this had been successful in at least one case, Chandler called foul on HP, saying it was abusing employment law.

“It’s a sad day when great companies think they need to sue their own employees over and over again to stop them from bettering themselves in their chosen profession,” he blogged. “Some states allow this. No company is forced to take advantage of it.”

In the first case, he accused HP of badgering a former employee who had retired from the company into withdrawing from an offer of employment with Cisco after legal action was taken. Another former financial-services employee at HP was threatened with litigation, although the situation was resolved after Cisco objected.

In the last month a former HP staffer was threatened with litigation after moving to Cisco. HP attempted to file a suit against the employee in a court in Texas before the case was thrown out by a judge.

“We know that employee retention is a matter of fair compensation and career opportunity, not litigation,” Chandler said. “We challenge HP, with new leadership deeply steeped in Silicon Valley’s environment of mobility and opportunity, to step up and support employee freedom and stop suing employees just for leaving.” ®

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