Too Diverse to Share: IBM Settles Lawsuit Against Microsoft’s New Chief Diversity Officer


IBM has settled its unusual lawsuit against Microsoft’s new Chief Diversity Officer Lindsay-Rae McIntrye.

According to a court document filed Monday in New York’s U.S. District Court, IBM reached a settlement with McIntyre on Feb. 25.

IBM sued McIntrye, its former chief diversity officer, last February for violating a one-year non-compete agreement after she left IBM to join Microsoft with the same role. According the the court filing, McIntrye’s contract with IBM prohibited her from accepting employment at a competitor.

The settlement ends an unusual spat between companies over ex-employees and the transfer of corporate secrets. While non-compete agreements are common in the tech world for engineers and executives, they rarely impact human resources roles, particularly jobs around corporate diversity.

IBM argued that McIntyre, a 20-year veteran of the company, had knowledge of IBM’s “diversity data, strategies, and initiatives,” which they considered as “trade secrets”.

IBM also added in its suit that Microsoft is “rated the worst technology company for the employment, pay, and promotion of women.” Microsoft responded earlier in a statement that it had “no interest in any of IBM’s confidential information.”

Details of the settlement were not disclosed, but Microsoft did say that McIntyre would be joining the company in July 2018. The court had granted a temporary restraining order preventing McIntyre from starting her new role at Microsoft.

“We’re pleased this matter is resolved and we’re thrilled that Lindsay-Rae McIntyre will be joining Microsoft as our Chief Diversity Officer,” a Microsoft representative said.

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