Amazon settles lawsuit with former employee who went to Google Cloud

AWS marketing VP took similar role at Google, according to lawsuit

Amazon has reportedly reached a confidential settlement with a former Amazon Web Services (AWS) employee who went to work for Google Cloud, according to tech news website GeekWire.com.

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The e-commerce giant sued Brian Hall, the former vice president of marketing for Amazon Web Services, in June for allegedly violating his noncompete agreement with the company when he took a similar job — vice president of product marketing — at competitor Google Cloud.

"THANK YOU to all of the people who have supported me in the last few months. ... I think you can retire the #freebrianhall tag now. I won't say much more," Hall tweeted Friday.

Amazon did not immediately respond to an inquiry regarding the settlement.

Hall changed updated his job on LinkedIn Friday, according to GeekWire, indicating that part of Amazon's settlement with the former AWS employee allowed him to keep his job at Google Cloud. The job title indicates that he has been working at Google Cloud for three months.

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AMAZON SUES FORMER AWS WORKER WHO TOOK GOOGLE CLOUD JOB

Hall was employed with AWS since July 2018 until his employment formally ended in March 2020.

His job title was listed as "VP in Purgatory" on LinkedIn before the settlement was reached, GeekWire reported.

Hall and his attorneys argued that Amazon did not give him the impression that his 18-month, non-compete clause of his confidentiality agreement would be strictly enforced based on another former AWS employee's experience.

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The agreement says employees will not "directly or indirectly...engage in or support the development, manufacture, marketing, or sale of any product or service that competes or is intended to compete with any product or service sold, offered, or otherwise provided by Amazon ... that Employee worked on or supported," according to Amazon's complaint.

The Amazon headquarters sits virtually empty on March 10, 2020 in downtown Seattle, Washington. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

"Hall's confidential Amazon knowledge would obviously be invaluable to Google if he's allowed to take that parallel and competitive position at Google," the complaint reads.

The lawsuit adds that Amazon made requests to Google and Hall that he "modify his role at Google to place him in a position where he will not inevitably use or disclose Amazon’s confidential information," but he and Google "have refused to do so."

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It's not the first time Amazon has filed a lawsuit against one of its employees for taking a job with a competitor; other tech giants have also filed similar lawsuits. In California and Washington, however, where most tech giants are headquartered, noncompete agreement laws are strict in the sense that they are hard or impossible to enforce.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that went into effect in January stating noncompetes are not enforceable unless "the employer discloses the terms of the covenant in writing to the prospective employee no later than acceptance by the employee of an offer of employment; or... the employee earns more than $100,000 a year," among other exceptions.

Amazon noted in its complaint that Hall made more than $100,000 per year.

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