The suit focuses on the agency’s new president, Rainy Hake Austin, and her contract with Compass, where she previously worked.
In another battle, apparently over agent recruitment, Los Angeles-based high-end brokerage firm The Agency accused Compass in a lawsuit on Friday of illegally attempting to prevent the agency’s new president from acquiring Compass – Advertise agents.
The lawsuit, which has been filed in federal court, centers on Rainy Hake Austin, who joined The Agency in October. Austin previously worked at Compass between early 2019 and late 2020. During her last five months at Compass, she served as the company’s Head of Operations for the West.
The lawsuit focuses on a provision in Austin’s contract from her time at Compass that prohibits the recruitment of Compass agents, such as things like recruitment.
The lawsuit alleges Compass attempted to enforce that part of Austin’s contract in March.
However, the agency’s lawsuit focuses on two allegations: first, that Austin did not actually break that provision in their compass contract; and second, that the determination itself is illegal.
In a statement on Friday, an agency spokesman told Inman that the company hired Austin “because of their extensive real estate industry experience, leadership, and integrity and ethics.”
“Compass threatens to violate Rainy’s rights by enforcing an illegal non-promotional provision in their employment contract,” the statement added. “This lawsuit is Rainy’s attempt to defend her rights as a California employee, and the agency fully supports her efforts.”
A review of the process documents reveals that Austin has been responsible for, among other things, recruiting and hiring agents and staff to join the agency since he was appointed president of the agency.
Compass did not immediately respond to Inman’s request for comment on Friday.
However, the company is no stranger to litigation. Earlier this week, Howard also sued Hanna for Compass for stealing agents and trade secrets ahead of its IPO. And in January, a former Compass agent filed a class action lawsuit against the company over what he called “bait and switch” recruiting and compensation tactics.
Compass is also embroiled in a legal battle with Realogy that dates back to 2019. This case arises from Realogy’s allegations that Compass was using “unfair business practices and illegal schemes to gain market share at any cost”. However, Compass has also countered, arguing that Realogy “is unable to compete with Compass in the market”.
Email Jim Dalrymple II