Apple-Google Anti-Poaching Lawsuit Nearing $415 Million Settlement

Google Intel Apple AdobeU.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in a San Jose, California courtroom on Monday raised no objections about a $415 million settlement that would end an ongoing anti-poaching class-action lawsuit involving Apple, Google and other large tech companies. Koh rejected a previous $324.5 million settlement last August after one of the plaintiffs in the case objected because the deal was too low, according to Reuters.

Tech workers filed the antitrust class-action lawsuit in 2011 against Apple, Google, Adobe and Intel, alleging that the four companies reached anti-poaching agreements that resulted in less job mobility and lower salaries. Apple and Google were accused of signing one of the earliest wage-fixing deals in 2005, although the anti-poaching agreements extended far beyond those companies. According to court documents, up to one million tech employees may have been affected by the agreements.

Update 11:05 AM PT: Koh has given preliminary approval to the $415 million settlement, reports The Wall Street Journal.

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Top Rated Comments

Mr Fusion Avatar
121 months ago
They've got to come down hard on companies that do this kind of thing.

Big employers hold all the power... *except* the employee can leave to get a better deal across the street.

When companies collude to take that option away, or even just reduce it, the employees are going to be seriously out of luck.
Collusion between large companies is just one (illegal) trick of many they have to reduce labor costs across an industry.

Their long-term solution most likely involves ad campaigns targeting students and educational institutions to spread word of a "shortage" of qualified workers, in order to flood the market and drive wages down.

It's been done before in other sectors, tech is just new to it. :cool:
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iSee Avatar
121 months ago
They've got to come down hard on companies that do this kind of thing.

Big employers hold all the power... *except* the employee can leave to get a better deal across the street.

When companies collude to take that option away, or even just reduce it, the employees are going to be seriously out of luck.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Donoban Avatar
121 months ago
Ka Ching!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dmunz Avatar
121 months ago
Ka Ching???

Ka Ching!

"...a $415 million settlement...

<snip>

According to court documents, up to one million tech employees may have been affected by the agreements."

So everyone gets four hundred bucks. (Minus legal fees of course.)

Ka Ching indeed.

FWIW
DLM
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
benzado Avatar
121 months ago
Why is it called "poaching" when big tech companies hire each other, but when Kroger hires someone from Food Lion, it's not poaching?

It is called poaching. If you hire employees away from another business, you are poaching them. If Kroger and Food Lion had entered into an agreement not to hire each other's employees they could be sued, too. Doesn't matter what the work is.

It would be a smart move, too: Kroger could let Food Lion do all the work of finding qualified reliable people, then offer them more money, but save money on training and recruiting.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
121 months ago
I would imagine that it's all dependent on the agreement between employer and employee. For instance, I have a contract that says should I leave my company, I'm not permitted to work with similar clients, or at similar companies, etc. for two years.

So think about the ramifications of that. That company fires you. Your skills happen to be specialized enough that your qualifications can only land you a job with one of those "similar" companies. You are legally obligated to sit on the sidelines for 2 years. Trying to live on unemployment or any low-paying job you can get that isn't with a "similar" may be tough.

So how is the firing party affected? They don't have to wait 2 years before replacing you, so they can do so quickly (probably already have your replacement lined up before firing you) and carry on making money. So they suffer no great loss but you potentially feel meaningful pain for 2 years.

How should this work? If a company requires you to sit out of a skilled job for which you are qualified, PAY you for sitting out. In other words: in exchange for preventing you from replacing your skilled job for 2 years, pay you for those 2 years. As is, there's tremendous disadvantage to the skilled employee who must take on this obligation without compensation beyond the point at which they lose the job.

Imagine the scenario of taking on such a job and obligation for a few weeks, then losing the job (firing, downsizing, etc). No time to set aside savings from compensation from that job, yet you have a 2-year obligation to not take a "similar" job. Company loss: little-to-nothing. Employee loss: job + 2 years of getting a similar job.

Compensation-limiting requirements should be purchased, not mandated for nothing. The lone employee is at tremendous disadvantage in such situations.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)