Apple, Google and Others Set to Face Trial Over Anti-Poaching Agreements
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled yesterday that Apple, Google and several other large tech companies will face a trial over "no solicitation" agreements that prevented the companies from attempting to hire away each others' employees, reports Bloomberg.
The suit represents software and hardware engineers, programmers, animators, digital artists, Web developers and other technical professionals, according to the ruling. Kelly Dermody, a lawyer representing them, said in an e-mail that there are as many as 64,626 potential class members.
“The court finds that, based on the extensive documentary evidence, economic theory, data, and expert statistical modeling, plaintiffs’ methodology demonstrates that common issues are likely to predominate over individual issues,” Koh wrote in her ruling.
According to the original lawsuit filed in 2011, the "no solicitation" agreements dated back to 2005 and were between Apple, Adobe, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar. The agreements reportedly prevented recruiters from contacting employees at other companies who were party to the agreement, though employees were free to apply for jobs at other establishments.
The anti-poaching agreements were investigated in 2010 by the Justice Department. The claims were eventually settled, with the companies agreeing not to form no-solicitation agreements for five years.
The current lawsuit is a class-action civil suit representing over 64,000 technical employees who said they were harmed by the anti-competitive actions of the defendant companies. According to SFGate, Judge Koh has scheduled the trial for next May, but it is also possible that it could be delayed by possible appeals from the defendant companies.