Fox Sues Netflix for Poaching Employees

Streaming giant “is defiantly flouting the law by soliciting and inducing employees to break their contracts,” Fox spokesperson tells TheWrap

Last Updated: September 16, 2016 @ 2:01 PM

Fox is suing Netflix for allegedly poaching certain contracted employees, encouraging them to jump ship despite having deals.

“As our complaint explains, we filed this lawsuit because we believe Netflix is defiantly flouting the law by soliciting and inducing employees to break their contracts,” a spokesperson for Fox told TheWrap. “We intend to seek all available remedies to enforce our rights and hold Netflix accountable for its wrongful behavior.”

Netflix did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the matter.

The plaintiffs — Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Fox 21 — claim in the Los Angeles County, West District filing that the streaming giant is “encouraging” Fox employees to rip up their Fixed-Term Employment Agreements and come to greener pastures.

Names are named in the complaint, including Marcos Waltenberg and Tara Flynn. Waltenberg was Fox vice president of Marketing, Partnerships & Promotions; Flynn was executive director and, later, vice president of Creative. Both were under two-year deals, with Fox holding the rights for renewal. In Flynn’s case, this right was exercised, but she bounced anyway.

“In or around the summer and fall of 2015, Netflix became aware of the Waltenberg Agreement and induced Waltenberg to breach it,” the filing states. That’s exactly what happened, and Waltenberg bailed for Netflix. Smash cut to Summer 2016, and Netflix/Flynn did the same thing, per Fox.

“As a direct and proximate result of Netflix’s conduct, Fox has suffered great and irreparable harm, including loss of Fox’s ability to contract for a stable workforce, for the disruption to Fox’s corporate planning, and for the injury to Fox’s business reputation and goodwill,” the company began summing up.

It continued: “Unless and until Netflix is restrained from the actions described herein, Fox will continue to suffer great and irreparable harm for which money damages would be an inadequate remedy. An injunction is necessary to abate Netflix’s continuing threat of unlawfully interfering with Fox’s Fixed-Term Employment Agreements.”

Fox wants compensatory damages that it believes will come up at trial, plus punitive and/or statutory damages, as well as any other relief the court deems appropriate.