Microsoft yesterday announced the hiring of Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, a former IBM HR leader, as its new chief diversity officer. IBM has now sued to stop McIntyre’s move, claiming that it violates a non-comete agreement.
According to the suit, reported by GeekWire, IBM says McIntyre was one of its “most senior executives with knowledge of IBM’s most closely guarded and competitively sensitive strategic plans and recruitment initiatives.” The suit claims that it would be “inevitable” for McIntyre to employ confidential recruiting strategies used by IBM to go after similar talent at Microsoft.
As part of its filing, IBM cited Microsoft’s own arguments in a previous discrimination suit in which it argued in favor of keeping its own diversity data secret.
In court filings responding to the suit, reported by Bloomberg, McIntyre’s lawyers called the non-competition clause “overbroad.” The filing added, “IBM surprisingly seeks a draconian temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent McIntyre from working — for an entire year, in any position, anywhere in the world, for any company IBM deems to be a ‘competitor’ in any dimension.”
For now, McIntyre has been temporarily barred from assuming her position at Microsoft by a U.S. District judge. A conference has been scheduled for February 22.