US judge allows tech 'poaching' suit to proceed

Apr 19, 2012

A US judge has given a green light to a lawsuit charging Apple, Google, Pixar and other technology-driven firms with colluding to keep salaries in check by agreeing not to poach one another's software engineers.

District Court Judge Lucy Koh, in a decision released late Wednesday, rejected motions to dismiss a class-action lawsuit charging that high-tech companies in the and San Francisco areas conspired on "Do Not Call" lists to keep talent tethered.

The list of defendants includes , Pixar, Apple, , Intel, Intuit, and Adobe Systems, alleged to have participated in the scheme to refrain from hiring each other's employees.

Koh noted in her ruling that the suit was based on Department of Justice antitrust investigations that ended in 2010 with agreeing to change their ways without admitting any wrongdoing.

The DOJ concluded that "facially anticompetitive" agreements were made that "eliminated a significant form of competition" to the detriment of workers "who were likely deprived of competitively important information and access to better job opportunities," according to court documents.

Agreements not to woo other companies' workers could prevent people from advancing careers and eased market pressure on employers to improve compensation overall, Koh reasoned.

"While these allegations concerning the labor market effects of cold calling remain to be proven, the court presumes these factual allegations to be true for the purposes of ruling on a motion to dismiss," the judge wrote.

"It is plausible to infer that even a single bilateral (do-not-call) agreement would have the ripple effect of depressing the mobility and compensation of employees of companies that are not direct parties to the agreement."

Explore further: Out-of-patience investors sell off Amazon

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Suit says tech titans fixed worker pay

May 05, 2011

A former Lucasfilm software engineer is suing the movie studio along with Silicon Valley technology titans for what he portrayed as a conspiracy to curb pay for workers.

Tech companies settle DOJ hiring inquiry

Sep 24, 2010

(AP) -- The Justice Department has reached an agreement with six major Silicon Valley companies to settle allegations that they colluded to hold down payroll expenses by agreeing not to poach employees from each other.

Apple, Samsung chiefs to meet on patent disputes

Apr 17, 2012

The chiefs of iPhone-maker Apple and smartphone giant Samsung have agreed to meet in the coming months to try to resolve patent disputes before the matters go to trial, legal filings showed.

Court lets Skyhook case against Google proceed

May 06, 2011

A Massachusetts judge has ruled that Skyhook Wireless Inc. can move ahead with its legal case against Google Inc., intended to bolster its claim that the Internet search giant interfered with Skyhook's business partnerships.

Recommended for you

Out-of-patience investors sell off Amazon

Oct 24, 2014

Amazon has long acted like an ideal customer on its own website: a freewheeling big spender with no worries about balancing a checkbook. Investors confident in founder and CEO Jeff Bezos' invest-and-expand ...

States ascend into the cloud

Oct 24, 2014

Seven years ago, the state of Delaware started moving computer servers out of closets and from under workers' desks to create a consolidated data center and a virtual computing climate.

Microsoft drops Nokia name from smartphones

Oct 24, 2014

Microsoft said Friday it was dropping the Nokia name from its Lumia smartphones, rebranding following the acquisition earlier this year of the Finnish group's handset division.

Amazon's loss makes holidays a question mark

Oct 24, 2014

Amazon's trademark smile icon is becoming more of a grimace. The world's largest online retailer reported a wider third-quarter loss than analysts expected and gave a disappointing holiday forecast.

User comments : 0