Amazon sues former AWS marketing VP Brian Hall after he leaves to take up as VP at Google Cloud
This is not done!. Brian Hall, the former marketing VP of Amazon’s AWS quit his AWS job last week to join Google Cloud. However, the former employer did not like Hall’s quitting and joining its biggest rival. Amazon filed a lawsuit against Brian Hall alleging that his new role at Google Cloud violates the terms of his non-compete agreement with Amazon and AWS and risks exposing valuable competitive information to Google Cloud.
Amazon in the lawsuit says the decision by Hall to switch allegiances risks exposing “valuable competitive information” to its top rival. Responding to the case that was filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle, Hall’s lawyers argue that he was repeatedly led to believe that Amazon would not enforce the non-compete provision of the confidentiality agreement he signed with the company in 2018.
Readers may note that NDA and non-compete agreements are signed to avoid professionals leaving the company from divulging erstwhile company secrets and customers to the new company. Over the years, noncompete clauses in employment contracts have become a controversial subject, and have essentially been banned in some states, including California.
Interestingly, Washington state, where Amazon is based, also has provisions that limit the applicability of the noncompete clause. Amazon has asked the court to issue an injunction preventing Hall from taking up employment with Google for the 18-month duration of the noncompete clause in his contract with the company.
Hall, who previously served as a manager and executive at Microsoft Corp. from 1995 to 2017, joined Amazon in June 2018.
In his statement to the Court, he says that the noncompete clauses are “overbroad, unreasonable, and unenforceable.” He has also asked the court to declare that his new job will not require him to disclose or use any confidential information he knows about his former employer.
Amazon has not been kind to the top management leaving the company. Over the years, it has filed several such lawsuits in Washington state to enforce non-compete clauses in employment contracts.