$19.6M judgment a warning for talent-hunters
By Bert Hill, The Ottawa Citizen April 25, 2012
OTTAWA — The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a $19.6-million judgment in favour of GasTOPS Ltd. against a rival Ottawa aviation software company.
The penalty represents 10 years of lost profits, damages and related costs — a big potential barrier for tiny companies who hope to grow by picking off top talent at competitors.
The three-judge panel unanimously rejected an appeal by Mxi Technologies Ltd. against a 2009 lower court ruling that Mxi and four founders had breached obligations to GasTOPS when they left, giving just two weeks notice, to start the new company in 1996.
The costly marathon case could blaze new standards because it suggests that key employees in some situations may have to provide up to 10 months notice of plans to leave.
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