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IBM and Microsoft battle over top workplace diversity exec

IBM is suing to stop its chief diversity officer from moving to Microsoft, a suit that demonstrates how critical and ...

Posted: Feb 14, 2018 7:41 AM
Updated: Feb 14, 2018 7:42 AM

IBM is suing to stop its chief diversity officer from moving to Microsoft, a suit that demonstrates how critical and hard it is for tech giants to improve the diversity of their work forces.

The suit by IBM charges that Lindsay-Rae McIntyre is in violation of a non-compete clause she signed when she was chief diversity officer at the company, where she was in charge of recruiting and promoting more women and minorities into its work force. It charges that Microsoft would unfairly benefit in the competition to hire qualified women and minority competition if McIntyre is allowed to jump ship.

"McIntyre will be leading the team at Microsoft responsible for deciding how to compete against IBM for diverse talent in the marketplace, and how to attempt to win business from customers based on the purported strength and potential success of Microsoft's diversity initiatives," said the suit.

It says she has served for 2-1/2 years as IBM's chief diversity officer until she told IBM on Jan. 14 that she had accepted the job at Microsoft. It says she oversaw teams that developed artificial intelligence-based tools and methodologies to track career development, recommend growth opportunities and potential paths for promotion and to monitor diversity metrics at the company.

The suit argues if she wants to change jobs McIntyre should go to a company that is not a direct competitor of IBM in terms of recruiting tech workers.

The judge in the case has granted a temporary restraining order to stop McIntyre from starting at Microsoft, and set a conference on the suit for Feb. 22.

Related: Tech's diversity efforts termed 'a failure'

McIntyre's response says that she has committed to not disclose any confidential information she may remember from IBM.

"While it is true that organizations that do better on diversity and inclusion may have a competitive advantage, that simple construct should not be confused with the issue before this court: whether IBM can enforce a breathtakingly overbroad non-competition agreement against its former chief diversity officer who has taken no IBM confidential information," said her response to the suit.

She said that as a mother of three young children she accepted the job with Microsoft because it allowed her to relocate to Washington state and be near her parents and other family members.

Microsoft said it was pleased to have McIntyre join the company, and that "We have no interest in any of IBM's confidential information."

IBM's web site says that women made up 31.8% of its global work force in 2016, and 24% of executives. It's chairman and CEO, Ginni Rometty, is a woman.

Microsoft's web site shows that 74% of its employees in 2017 were male, and 26% are women. In addition 56.2% were white and 31.3% Asians. All other ethnic groups including Latinos and blacks make up the remaining 12.5%. Microsoft was sued by women employees who charging gender discrimination, a suit that is still working its way through federal court.

IBM says that in that suit Microsoft has sought to keep secret the same type of diversity data and information that McIntyre knows about IBM and could now bring to Microsoft.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604052

Reported Deaths: 7616
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1248161773
Ramsey52466895
Dakota46797470
Anoka42724458
Washington27406291
Stearns22552224
St. Louis18134312
Scott17544135
Wright16405148
Olmsted13390102
Sherburne1200195
Carver1066148
Clay825692
Rice8187110
Blue Earth762443
Crow Wing681494
Kandiyohi667585
Chisago619652
Otter Tail585684
Benton582998
Goodhue483474
Douglas475381
Mower470733
Winona461151
Itasca459263
Isanti439964
McLeod430161
Morrison424362
Nobles407950
Beltrami407561
Steele397616
Polk389072
Becker386555
Lyon363853
Carlton352756
Freeborn346932
Pine335023
Nicollet331045
Mille Lacs311454
Brown307840
Le Sueur297225
Cass286032
Todd285632
Meeker263142
Waseca238023
Martin235032
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Hubbard196241
Dodge18773
Renville182446
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Houston174616
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Jackson122612
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Pope11296
Murray107010
Swift106918
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Stevens92411
Clearwater89116
Marshall88817
Lake83120
Wilkin83112
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5938
Lincoln5843
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48093
Red Lake4017
Traverse3765
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 370840

Reported Deaths: 6048
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58221639
Linn21202339
Scott20303247
Black Hawk16106312
Woodbury15237230
Johnson1461485
Dubuque13505211
Dallas1128899
Pottawattamie11219174
Story1071148
Warren583791
Clinton561493
Cerro Gordo553693
Sioux516974
Webster515194
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Marshall486576
Des Moines467271
Wapello4337122
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Jasper420972
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Lee382356
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Carroll286752
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Crawford268240
Benton259655
Washington256951
Dickinson249444
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Jackson225242
Clay216627
Kossuth216166
Tama211871
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Winneshiek198135
Page194522
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Fayette186543
Wright185840
Hamilton181851
Harrison180073
Clayton171057
Butler166135
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Mills163724
Floyd163242
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Lyon158841
Poweshiek157036
Allamakee152752
Hancock150234
Iowa149824
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Cass139155
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