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LG Chem says SK’s ‘unfair’ scouting practices at core of lawsuit

LG Chem on Tuesday released its second statement in response to SK Innovation’s announcement to file a countersuit against the company and its affiliate LG Electronics, emphasizing again the nature of the legal dispute lies with “unfair practices.”

“The essence of the lawsuit against SK lies in the company’s unfair scouting practices,” LG Chem said. “It’s neither about the national interest nor negative publicity.”

In a statement released in response to SK Innovation’s announcement last week that it would file a countersuit, LG Chem reiterated that SK Innovation, a relatively latecomer in the electric vehicle battery market, scouted over 100 former LG Chem employees in a period of less than two years -- October 2017 to April 2019 -- through headhunters.

LG contends that headhunters and former LG employees “targeted” workforce in specific technology fields and persuaded them to apply for jobs in SK. LG has said that those who had passed the primary document screening were told to elaborate on major business projects by period and reveal the names of colleagues. 

LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol (LG Chem)
LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol (LG Chem)

“It was proven that the former employees did elaborate on the company’s core technology information at the time and searched for the needed documents and downloaded them before they left the company,” the LG statement said.

“If (SK Innovation) believes it to have not committed any wrongdoing, it must stop its attempt to sway the public by hiding the essence of the issue and faithfully face the lawsuit to clear right from wrong.”

LG Chem, however, added that it is open to holding CEO-level talks should SK Innovation be willing to admit their fault, apologize and discuss the level of compensation.

In response to the claim, SK has said the recruitment process took place openly upon the employees’ voluntary applications.

LG had filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission on April 29 and sued SK Innovation’s branch in the state of Georgia, where the company has started to construct an electric vehicle battery plant, with a local court, petitioning that it ban sales of SK products produced from the Georgia plant.

The US ITC decided to open an investigation into the case on May 29. The preliminary conclusion of the investigation will be released in June of next year.

By Song Su-hyun (