After Carol Bartz was fired from Yahoo, she called the board “doofuses” along with an F-Bomb, but the non-disparagement clause could cost her $10M for the swearing.
According to US lawyers, Bartz is likely to have breached the “non-disparagement” clause in her contract, because the word “doofuses” casts aspersions on the ability of the board directors.
Bartz, who was fired after being with the company for 30 months, claimed she was a scapegoat by a board running scared, saying: “The board was so spooked by being cast as the worst board in the country. Now they’re trying to show that they’re not the doofuses that they are.”
It is understood she stands to lose a $10M severance package if she breaches the clause, which prevents her being publicly critical of Yahoo’s performance as a business.
Jon Katz, a libel lawyer in Washington DC, said Ms Bartz would be able to use the US First Amendment the right to free speech to defend her claim that she was “f—– over” by the board because the board could argue Bartz was incompetent, but that her remarks called into question their ability.
However, some lawyers we spoke with cautioned Yahoo against fighting the point in court, claiming the company would look “silly” for arguing over the swearing, causing damage to its corporate reputation.