With all the workforce chaos happening over at HP due to executive turnover, it seems HP has invented a new method of employee retention: Litigation. Indeed, HP’s “Invent” seems to be quite an appropriate slogan for this software/hardware giant.

With many employees leaving HP due to company uncertainty, HP is now suing its ex-employees in an effort to prevent them from working at Cisco…one of HP’s main competitors. This is reportedly the third time in two years HP has engaged in this revolutionary practice of retaining talent for their organization. In an age where outsourcing US labor to foreign nations is commonplace, we now see the opposite occurring, but in dramatic fashion.

In the first case, HP forced a retired employee (who waited months before even talking with Cisco) to withdraw their application from their rival company. A second case involved a woman who worked for HP’s financial services group, who was sued to block her from working at Cisco’s customer finance group…even though there was no intellectual property issue present. Then finally last week, a 20-year HP veteran was sued to block him from going to work for Cisco, even though trade secrets are protected by the intellectual property laws of California as opposed to non-compete laws.

Will this be a new trend for technology companies? Will technology employees (who advance their careers by moving to different companies on occasion) be on career “lock down” should they sign an employment contract with a large tech organization? What if someone is forced to resign and takes another job with a competitor to protect their family, who subsequently gets sued? What if the suing company actually wins?

One thing is for certain, homeowners insurance will not be enough to protect someone in this situation. Only a personal excess liability (AKA: Umbrella) policy will offer high limits of liability to protect an employee that works for a high profile technology company like HP, Google, Microsoft, Computer Associates, etc.

Talk to your insurance professional about the options you have in securing personal excess liability coverage. If your tech career is important to you, this is one policy type you will not want to ignore.

HP Article Source: Mark Chandler – SVP, General Counsel and Secretary General Counsel at Cisco