Netflix Set To Be Sued Over Employee Poaching Dispute

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Netflix is one of the great success stories of recent tech innovation – and with over 100 million subscribers around the world, it’s clear that film and TV fans agree. But it’s recently found itself in the grip of a legal dispute focusing on the issue of employee poaching. Viacom, a corporate giant, claims that Netflix tried to persuade one of its workers to jump ship and head over. But who’s right – and what could the repercussions of this interesting case be?

What is Netflix Accused Of?

The popular streaming service is accused by Viacom of poaching a production boss named Momita Sengupta. According to a case brought to the Los Angeles Superior Court recently, Viacom claims that Sengupta was under a contract which ran from April 2017 until April 2020. Allegedly, Netflix even gave Sengupta the services of a lawyer to defend herself against claims from her former employer.

Netflix, however, has built a defense. It claims that a law called the California Business and Professions Code Section 16600 means that the fixed contracts offered by Viacom aren’t fair, as they hold back workers from moving around jobs as they see fit. Whether or not the courts in Los Angeles decide to accept this defense, however, is another matter entirely – and it may well come down in the end to just how passionately argued the case is when it reaches the judge.

Not For the First Time

Unfortunately for Netflix, this isn’t the firm time it’s found itself in this kind of dispute. 20th Century Fox Film Corporation is also in the process of suing the firm over a claim that Netflix lured two of its bosses as well. According to the Hollywood Reporter, there’s a chance that the case brought by 20th Century Fox Film Corporation and the one brought by Viacom will simply get rolled into one.

LA: A Center for Disputes

Southern California is the US’ second largest economic area by gross metropolitan product in the whole of the US – and with Los Angeles playing home not just to the global entertainment industry but to many other sectors besides, it’s no surprise that there are often corporate disputes like the one Netflix is facing. As happened in the recent case settled in favor of Erik H. Gordon, media companies are often in court defending themselves. But there are some upsides to this: LA plays home to some of the country’s best lawyers, and many clients find that they have the pick of the bunch when it comes to locating someone to defend them.

Netflix, then, stands accused of quite a serious issue. It’s definitely true that this will be a headache for the firm: legal bills for the firm could mount, and there are reputational issues at stake too. But with an estimated market capitalization of well over $100 billion, the firm is unlikely to face too much trouble in the long term – and streaming fans in LA and around the country will be able to rest easy knowing that Netflix is unlikely to be going anywhere any time soon.