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RIM Accuses Motorola of Blocking Job Offers 353

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the if-i-can-have-you-nobody-will dept.
theodp writes "Taking a page from the insanely-jealous-husband-playbook, Motorola management has adopted an if-I-can't-have-you-nobody-can stance on its fired employees, reportedly blocking RIM from offering jobs to laid-off workers. In a complaint filed in state court, Motorola is charged with improperly trying to expand a previous agreement 'to prevent the RIM entities from hiring any Motorola employees, including the thousands of employees Motorola has already fired or will fire.' Through its Compete America membership, Motorola has repeatedly warned Congress that failing to accommodate the lobbying group members' 'principled' demand for timely access to talent would not be in the United States' economic interest and would make the US second-rate in education and basic research."
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RIM Accuses Motorola of Blocking Job Offers

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  • Move to CA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rinisari (521266) * on Friday December 26, 2008 @01:00PM (#26235441) Homepage Journal

    If RIM had a division in California, they could hire anyone they wanted since California law essentially forbids non-compete clauses [wikipedia.org].

    There was a recent Slashdot discussion about this when a Former IBM Exec Ordered To Stop Working For Apple [slashdot.org].

  • So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by florescent_beige (608235) on Friday December 26, 2008 @01:01PM (#26235451) Journal

    Interesting to see how the paragons of capitalism don't believe in the free market.

    A company I once worked for once had a written policy that anyone who had ever worked as a direct employee could not be hired at a later date as a contractor (contracting is very lucrative in this industry). I always thought that sounded legally dubious but despite some efforts the media had no interest in pursuing it.

    I eventually left that company to contract at a competitor. On my last day the director of engineering told me "You realize I can't approve of this." To which I did not reply, but always wished I had "I can not approve of the way you accept public subsidies and then exported my job to Ireland."

    Can't wait until I get a little older so I can name names.

  • by soloes (415223) <avezes.gmail@com> on Friday December 26, 2008 @01:06PM (#26235473) Homepage

    What bothers me most about Motorol's behavior here is that there are people who are not drawing a paycheck. Some are on unemployment and they could be back in the ranks of the employed, spending money and helping our economy... not to mention the personal ramifications of no longer being unemployed...
    However, Motorola wants to keep these people unemployed. they want to flare their feathers no matter who is hurt in their little a pissing match.
    We all wonder what went wrong when some ex husband dresses p as santa, goes to his ex wife's fmaily xmas party and kills 8 people, but when a company tries to do the same thing to thousands, we stand idolly by.
    Because of this action, I will no longer allow any motorola product in my house. period.
    I have never been an employee of motorola and am not mad because i am one being hurt, but I would want opthers to do this if my former company wanted to keep me poor after laying me off.
    Stand up, consumers, and let motorola know that it is time to move past the anger stage already.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Friday December 26, 2008 @01:08PM (#26235487) Journal

    However, Motorola wants to keep these people unemployed.

    I see a massive and expensive class-action suit in the offing. Motorola shareholders should contact the company's general counsel and tell him in no uncertain terms to cut that shit out.


  • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday December 26, 2008 @01:10PM (#26235493)

    As for responding to that clown on your last day, I tend to say something along the lines of "your approval is neither sought nor required" in such a situation.


    It's too bad circumstances have led you to have a "tend to" regarding this kind of conversation.

  • Re:Surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Friday December 26, 2008 @01:27PM (#26235591)

    You'd think Motorola would want their competitors taking on those responsible for their vast array of shitheap products.

    Depends. If they're firing lots of middle and senior management I'd tend to agree. Engineers design the kinds of products that management wants them to design: if those are shitheap then management is ultimately responsible.

  • by internetcommie (945194) on Friday December 26, 2008 @01:32PM (#26235631)
    [corporate flamebait start]
    If US companies want to keep US workers in the US, they should offer them so attractive working conditions (this includes working environment, good salaries, and job security for those who are concerned with such) that they don't want to leave. US citizens are free to leave the country if it suits them, and if we are to continue calling this country a "beacon of freedom" or whatever the latest slogan is, then it will have to continue to be that way.
    And if Microsoft has such a hard time finding workers in the US, why aren't they looking into hiring some of Motorola's castoffs?
    [/corporate flamebait end]
  • Agreement? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Friday December 26, 2008 @01:37PM (#26235657) Homepage

    This sounds like it could very well be due to RIM taking advantage of some information it got from Motorola under NDA.

    RIM and Motorola had (have?) an agreement to share confidential information about some unrelated matter. RIM notices that Motorola is going to be laying off people from this information. RIM immediately starts soliciting these people that are likely to be laid off.

    Now that doesn't sound entirely reasonable, does it? Especially since these people can be approached on the basis of "we're offering you a job with a 25% cut in pay because we know you are about to lose your job."

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday December 26, 2008 @01:51PM (#26235745) Journal

    The agreement expired in August and is no longer enforceable, the agency said, citing the complaint.

    The agreement has expired, then why the lawsuit?

    From one article:

    Motorola is improperly trying to expand the agreement 'to prevent the RIM entities from hiring any Motorola employees, including the thousands of employees Motorola has already fired or will fire,' RIM was quoted as saying in the complaint by the agency.

    But from the other:

    RIM (nasdaq: RIMM - news - people ), in a complaint filed in state court in Chicago, asked for an order invalidating an agreement the companies reached this year not to solicit each other's employees, the agency said.

    So, both companies agreed not to solicit each other's employees and now RIM wants out of the deal. Why should the be let out of the deal?

    The lawsuit comes three months after Motorola sued RIM in Chicago in violation of the agreement, according to the agency.

    Either the writer is incompetent or the above is false because "three months" ago was after the agreement supposedly expired, therefore the suit could not be in violation of the agreement.

    From the linked letter to Congress:

    Recapturing Congressionally authorized EB green cards from prior fiscal years that went unused
    due to bureaucratic delays would help reduce visa backlogs. EB green card recapture has been
    endorsed by over 70 employer, family and community-based organizations. In 2005, 85 U.S.
    Senators voted in support of green card recapture.

    How does that apply to anything in this case, in any way shape or form?

    To me, this looks like a lot of biased reporting and RIM trying to weasel it's way out of an agreement.

  • Re:Agreement? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday December 26, 2008 @01:54PM (#26235759) Journal

    You missed this part:

    RIM , in a complaint filed in state court in Chicago, asked for an order invalidating an agreement the companies reached this year not to solicit each other's employees, the agency said.

    The fact that RIM had already agreed NOT to solicit Motorola's employees makes this the lawsuit very unreasonable.

  • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Friday December 26, 2008 @02:25PM (#26235933) Journal

    I had a similar situation, where the sticking point was the phrase "remedy of specific performance", which my sister (who is a lawyer) told me was completely beyond the pale, and then explained to me what it meant. In a nutshell, if I had signed that, I would have been agreeing to an injunction to force me to return to work for them if I left and they wanted me back.

    I gave them the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that it was boilerplate that they didn't understand, explained it to the company president. His reply was "Well, I can see where that might be to the company's advantage." I told him "I didn't say it wasn't to your advantage, I said I wouldn't sign it."

    Upshot: I struck the offending language, and signed my modified version. I never got a copy back from them with a signature on it, but they did pay me the rate we'd discussed.


  • Re:CorpAmerica (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kneo24 (688412) on Friday December 26, 2008 @02:57PM (#26236097) Homepage

    Do not let them make you think they are doing you some huge favor by employing you. It's the other way around.

    Ah, so very true. I had to remind my bosses of that just very recently. They seemed to think it was acceptable to treat me like dirt and expect me to take it. When I left early for a day because I had enough of the shit, they were threatening to fire me the next day. Either fire me, or don't. Threats mean nothing. I just told him that the company needed me more than I needed that job (both of which are true). I'm still there. It's nice now as none of my bosses will speak directly to me or even look me in the eye. Some assholes just can't stand it when you have them by the balls.

  • Re:Sorry Motorola (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Deagol (323173) on Friday December 26, 2008 @05:52PM (#26236909) Homepage

    Sure, the worst of capitalism results in our exploitation of less developed nations. However, the worst of consumerism is why people in the US "need" the high salaries/wages/benefits that drive companies overseas for their labor. In then end, it comes down to the greed and gluttonly of everyone.

    I support a family of four (myself, wife, plus two kids). This year, my year-end gross from my job: $9243. I work 2 hours a day, from home. A small real estate investment a few years ago grosses me about $1200/year, and that will be gone in maybe 5 years. In total, we live comfortably on under $12k/year.

    How do we manage this? We live cheaply, humbly, and within our means.

    I'm $1000 away from having our 1000-ft^2 fixer-upper (cost $40k) home paid off, which is the last of our debt. No consumer debt -- never again. Our single beater of a car is paid off, and it gets good mileage. We raise much of our own food, and hunt a little to supplement. Between the garden and livestock (meat, eggs, milk), we produced 90 days' worth of calories for the entire family this year. Not bad for 1/4 of an acre. Sure, there were some inputs (grains, hay, straw, etc.), but the cost of animal feed is far cheaper than people feed, plus you get a healthier, tastier product. What we do purchase, we buy staples in bulk and cook damned near everything from scratch. Store-bought white flour is "convenience food" in our house (yes, we grow and mill wheat for some of our flour needs). We use whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. We don't indulge in health insurance, as there's no need -- we enjoy a very healthy diet and we never get sick.

    We buy most clothing from second-hand stores. We haven't paid for broadcast TV in 8 years, opting to view select shows via Netflix or sites like Hulu. Related to the no TV stance, we avoid advertising, thus our kids (as well as ourselves) are not enticed to by useless crap, and we are quite happy with a few occasional luxuries (coffee, internet, movies, and PC games). We don't celebrate Christmas (the wife and I being atheist, and the kids not indoctrinated to any religious philosophy), so we don't buy anyone anything. For "the holidays" we treated each child to $20, and they get a few things from extended family. No cell phones. We cut our own hair (well, the kids -- the wife and I have long hair). Wife doesn't get her hair or nails done, and she doesn't wear makeup. I telecommute, and don't incur the costs of dressing nicely, commuting, and eating out for lunch every day. We home-school our kids, so we don't need to pay pointless school fees.

    Our unavoidable (for now) monthlies are: $50 for landline+DSL, $25-to-$200 (depending on the season) for electricity, $20 for auto insurance (I hardly drive, so I get "pleasure" use rate, state minimum coverage), and $15 for county trash pick-up. At the worst of times (dead of winter), we spend $200/month for food and livestock feed. At the best of times, we spend almost nothing for food. Maybe $20/month for gas, even when it was $4/gallon.

    I don't expect everyone in this country to go as hard-core with the simple living as we do. Somewhere, though, there should be a balance between the $12k/year I enjoy now vs the $55k/year at my earning peak (with all the expense, hassle and stress that lifestyle mandates) to support a family. If the majority of people lived without consuming so much, this world would be a far better place, and we'd all be able to live well without demanding so much in income. And if that happened, companies wouldn't need to outsource. Of course, if much of the population scaled back their living, companies would be forced to scale back what they would accept in profitability.

    In summary, wage disparity between the typical US worker and the typical third world worker isn't always about exploitation. Some people -- like myself -- just live simpler lives. If a worker in another country has a roof over their heads, access to food and clean water, and isn't under duress to perform th

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 26, 2008 @06:04PM (#26236977)

    Good point. I'll happily not work for the non-compete period for full pay and benefits. Maybe I'll go back to college and get a second Master's degree.

    My only concern would be having to explain the employment gap: "I was laid off, and my former employer wanted to give me some time to make the trade secrets in my brain obsolete, so they paid me a full year's salary to not work."

    At a local high school, a student stole a computer from the open building during the summer, got caught, and said "Ms. Xxxxx sold it to me for $5."

    The teacher was paid a full salary to not work a whole school year while the incident was investigated. $50,000 or so in pay and benefits and God knows how much in investigative and legal fees over a Celeron 433 and one student's on-the-spot lie. She resigned over it, and probably has a better job elsewhere now.

  • Re:Agreement? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rcw-home (122017) on Friday December 26, 2008 @07:05PM (#26237339)

    Almost every one of those type of agreements have some sort of clause in them counting people who had been employeed at all in the past X years (actively employeed or not) as employees.

    Contract boilerplate is viral. Do you know of any case law upholding that? Just because someone signed something saying they wanna be a slave doesn't mean they are one.

  • by Samschnooks (1415697) on Friday December 26, 2008 @08:01PM (#26237629)

    Or, how, about, they pay you for the rest of your life. - you are being facetious but I am not certain why exactly, I suppose there is very thick sarcasm somewhere there.

    Nope and you completely misread what I wrote. What I meant was, if they're going to fire you, for what ever reason, and still enforce the non-compete, then they should pay your salary for as long as they enforce the non-compete because you can't get a job because of the non-compete. Right?

    And this BS about not signing it is completely unrealistic because if everyone demands it, how are you supposed to "not sign it"? I understand NDAs, but other than that, these agreements that employers demand that you sign just a form black mailing employees.

    ... I modify them where I see it necessary. Most people make the mistake of not doing this and it will bite them.

    Really? Good for you! Every time I had a non-compete or any agreement that has to be signed for a job was a take it or leave it. In other words, you either sign it as is or you do not get the job. Of course it depends on what you do and who you are. Meaning, someone like you has skills and talent that, apparently, I do not have and you are able to pull that off. (I am NOT being facetious or sarcastic.)

    I agree with everything else in your post. I just had a problem with the way you interpreted my comment. I typed this with a smile on my face and with warm and fuzzy Holiday feelings.

    Happy New Year!

  • Re:Sorry Motorola (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 26, 2008 @09:48PM (#26238229)

    "If theres someone that can do your job better or cheaper, shouldn't he get it, regardless of what shithole country he is forced to live in?"
              Of course not. You know, I was amused to see a few years ago (when Americans were bitching about Indians taking all these jobs), Indians were posting like "hey USians, don't hate so much". A year or two later the Indian tune had changed... "Those goddamn dirty Ukranians, they are taking our jobs!! Yarrrrrgh!!!"

              There's TONS of racists in the US, but it's fully legit for people to not want good jobs to leave their country.

Elegance and truth are inversely related. -- Becker's Razor