Cisco tells HP to stop suing its ex-workers

Maker of expensive printer ink, HP should stop suing its ex-workers in a desperate bid to keep them, according to Cisco’s top brief Mark Chandler.

Chandler, who has a reputation for saying what he thinks, said that HP is becoming increasingly desperate to keep its staff, after a recent exodus of top names.

Writing in his bog,  Chandler said that in Silicon Valley, human capital is as mobile as financial capital. The Valley, he added, happens to reside in a state where the courts generally do not enforce employee non-compete clauses.

The Wall Street Journal  recounted a recent case of an HP employee of more than two decades. After leaving the company, the employee moved to California and asked a court there to declare that he protected by state law and that HP could not enforce its non-compete clause.

HP responded by filing an an action in Texas against the employee and scheduled an “emergency” hearing to try to enjoin the employee from working with Cisco.

It asked for the judge to issue the injunction with no notice and no opportunity for the employee to be represented. Fortunately, a Texas lawyer working for the employee saw the filing appear online and showed up in court.

The Texas Judge was furious, given that the matter was already in front of a California court, with both sides represented. The California judge issued an order allowing the employee to begin his new career at Cisco.

The Wall Street Journal thinks that this case was the matter of Paul Perez a former chief technologist for H-P’s StorageWorks unit.

Still the question is, how effective is HP’s tactic of suing former employees who leave the outfit? It does not seem to have been that effective.