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Adobe, Apple, Google hit by wage-fixing case

Class action for secret poaching deals

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Six of Silicon Valley's largest companies have been named in a class action suit seeking compensation for anti-competitive employment practices to which the companies have already admitted.

Late last year the Department of Justice reached a settlement with Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, and Pixar to stop them continuing their "anti-competitive employee solicitation agreements".

The secret deals dated back to 2005: senior executives at all six firms agreed not to poach each others' staff and not to cold-call. The DoJ ruled this was anti-competitive and to the detriment of employees.

A class action case has been brought by Siddharth Hariharan, a software engineer who worked at LucasFilm from 2007 to 2008.

The case claims that Pixar and LucasFilm had three agreements on recruitment practices. Firstly, the two firms agreed not to cold-call. Secondly, if someone from Pixar applied for a job at LucasFilm, then LucasFilm would inform Pixar. And thirdly if either firm made a job offer, the rival company would not try to better that offer.

Only senior executives at either company were aware of the restrictions.

Steve Jobs bought LucasFilm's computer graphics division, which became Pixar.

The DoJ continues to investigate Silicon Valley hiring practices.

You can download the case summary from Infoworld here. ®

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