Fox files suit against Netflix for employee poaching

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20th Century Fox is looking to get an injunction against Netflix to prevent it from luring away employees under contract, according to a new lawsuit filed with an LA court. Recent Netflix hires Tara Flynn and Marcos Waltenberg were apparently the proverbial straws that broke the camel’s back, as both ex-Fox employees had contracts signed that tied the to the studio through at least 2016.

According to the suit, Netflix allegedly knew about the agreements in place before pursuing the hires of both employees, with the specific intent of incentivizing them to break their contracts. Fox is looking for damages in addition to the injunction against any further poaching.

In a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix said that it “believe[s] in employee mobility” and doesn’t believe Fox’s use of employment contracts is “enforceable” under the law.

Netflix has a fairly strong reputation for its recruiting processes, both on its tech side and in terms of creative talent. The streaming service’s string of creative hits definitely helps with its ability to poach top industry talent, and it has additional know-how thanks to its experience finding and keeping engineering talent in the highly competitive Silicon Valley job market.

This suit means that legacy film and TV studios clearly see Netflix as a threat, especially as the streaming company continues to emphasize and invest in original content in order to simplify its licensing arrangements and offer a larger, more diverse library to potential subscribers than it might be able to if it relied wholly on externally developed programming.

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