Tuesday, June 9, 2020 [Tweets] [Favorites]

AWS Non-Compete Agreement Lawsuit

Todd Bishop (via Corey Quinn, Hacker News):

A lawsuit filed by Amazon against Brian Hall, former Amazon Web Services vice president of product marketing, alleges that his new role at Google Cloud violates the terms of his non-compete agreement with the Seattle company and risks exposing valuable competitive information to one of its biggest rivals.

In a response filed Monday in King County Superior Court in Seattle, lawyers for Hall say Amazon executives repeatedly led him to believe the company would not enforce the non-competition provision of its “boilerplate” confidentiality agreement, in discussions before and after he signed the contract in June 2018.

Previously:

Update (2020-06-11): See also: Dan Luu, Corey Quinn.

3 Comments

lawyers for Hall say Amazon executives repeatedly led him to believe the company would not enforce the non-competition provision of its “boilerplate” confidentiality agreement, in discussions before and after he signed the contract in June 2018.

I feel for the guy, and am inclined to think that's believable, but I can't emphasize how dumb a position that was for him to be comfortable accepting.

If you're important enough, you can get any reasonable company to amend their boilerplate in their contact for you, or to officially indicate acceptance of a letter that amends it. Once you get a letter and before you sign -- you know, when you can negotiate benefits -- is easily the most leverage you're ever likely to have with a company. They spent money finding you. They want you. It would be a cost to go with Option B. Ask for what you want. Worst is that they could rescind the offer, but a more likely worst is that they say no.

If they won't, and it's important to you, do you really want to work for an unreasonable company? If you do, you gotta deal with the contract you accepted, not the one you thought you were promised, even when it's promised by well-meaning folk that appreciate you.

Clearly Ruffin hasn’t dealt with Amazon's legal department!

@Anon - If you’re suggesting Amazon won’t deviate from their boilerplate, I’d suggest there’s evidence to the contrary.

But if we pretend there isn’t, you either don’t take the job or you prepare for 18 months of doing something completely different when you leave. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Regardless, you should not take verbal aspirations as binding contracts.

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