BlackBerry Holds Back Former Employee in Breach of Contract Suit

The principle of breach of contract between employer and employee takes an interesting twist in the story of an executive who left to work for another company – and the original company that sued to get him back.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s ruling prevents a Senior Vice-President of troubled BlackBerry Corporation from leaving to take on his new job at Apple. According to the court documents, the VP looked for and was offered a job in December of 2013, when he handed in his resignation.

Blackberry sued him for breach of contract and the judge agreed with the company. At issue:

  • The latest contract had been signed in September 2013, when the VP was promoted (at a time when BlackBerry was initiating a freeze on promotions).
  • The contract stipulated that the executive needed to give at least six-month`s notice before leaving the company.

The upshot: the exec has to stay put for a full six months before he can move on. Now, we can speculate about what kind of work the company can expect from someone who’s literally being forced to stay on the job, but the company’s position is clear and was stated in court.

“BlackBerry will not stand by while a former employee violates his employment contract.”

And, they were clearly prepared to go all the way to make sure even if conventional wisdom would have assumed otherwise.

Never Assume – Get the Legal Representation You Need

Employment contracts or contracts of any kind can get complicated and you may not foresee the consequences of specific clauses and actions.  Possibly this executive assumed that the company wouldn’t force him to stay – knowing how awkward the work situation would prove to be – or he assumed the legal costs would be a deterrent.

  • Whether you’re about to sign a contract or you’re currently involved in one and thinking of getting out, the issues can be complex and the consequences far reaching.
  • Know your rights. Contact the breach of contract lawyers at Petrillo Law today by calling (905) 949-9433 and let us use our expertise to help you make the right decisions.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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