Why IBM sued ex-staff Lindsay-Rae McIntyre newly hired by Microsoft

Benoit Bazin

IBM has filed a suit in a bid to get a restraining order preventing Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, who led diversity efforts at Big Blue, from joining Microsoft.

Lindsay-Rae McIntyre served as human resources VP and chief diversity office at IBM, according to her LinkedIn profile before joining Microsoft abruptly.

IBM complained that McIntyre using and disclosing, whether intentionally or not, its confidential and sensitive information would place the company at a competitive disadvantage, Reuters reports.

“McIntyre was at the center of highly confidential and competitively sensitive information that has fueled IBM’s success in these areas,” a representative for IBM told Business Insider. “While we understand Microsoft’s need to deal with mounting criticism of its record on diversity, IBM intends to fully enforce Ms. McIntyre’s non-compete agreement to protect our competitive information.”

Lindsay-Rae McIntyre lawyers called IBM’s move “draconian.”

“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,” her attorneys said, according to Bloomberg news.

IBM said it sought to enforce Lindsay-Rae McIntyre’s non-competition agreement for the 12-month period and recover from her the equity compensation she has forfeited by “violating her contractual duties” to IBM.

IBM’s diversity-related trade secrets are not valuable to Microsoft and McIntyre will not be able to use them in her new role, Bloomberg reported citing her lawyers.

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