Feeds

eBay hit with antitrust suit over hiring practices

No-poaching pact with Intuit a no-no

Top three mobile application threats

The US Department of Justice and the State of California both filed suit against eBay on Friday, alleging that the online marketplace entered into an illegal, anticompetitive hiring pact with tax and financial software maker Intuit.

As reported by Bloomberg, the lawsuit charges eBay with developing an "evolving handshake" arrangement with Intuit from 2006 to 2009, in which each company agreed not to recruit or hire the other's employees.

"eBay's agreement with Intuit hurt employees by lowering the salaries and benefits they might have received and deprived them of better job opportunities at the other company," the Justice Department said in a statement. "The Antitrust Division has consistently taken the position that these kinds of agreements are per se unlawful under the antitrust laws."  

If this sounds familiar, it should. The case is an extension of an earlier, industry-spanning Justice Department investigation, in which multiple Silicon Valley companies were found to have struck similar "no-poaching" agreements.

In September 2010, the government reached a settlement with Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, and Pixar, in which all six companies agreed not to make any further such hiring pacts. At the time, however, the DoJ warned that its probe wasn't over, and now it appears to have eBay in its sights.

In fact, the claim against eBay may actually be more serious than those resolved in the 2010 settlement. In the earlier case, the companies involved were found to have agreed not to actively recruit employees from each other's staffs. The new complaint alleges that Intuit actually backed away from hiring an eBay employee whom it had previously recruited, at the personal request of eBay's then-CEO, Meg Whitman.

Intuit was not named as a defendant on Friday, however, because the DoJ considers the terms of its 2010 settlement to be sufficient to prevent any further wrongdoing.

For its part, eBay denies the DoJ's allegations, claiming that the government is using "the wrong standard" to determine the legality of recruitment agreements between companies.

"We compete openly for talent in a broad, diverse global market across a range of industries and professional disciplines, and eBay's hiring practices conform to the standards that the Department of Justice has approved in resolving cases against other companies," a company rep told Bloomberg.

The DoJ obviously disagrees, and in a separate statement, California Attorney General Kamala Harris pointed out that the state's own unfair competition laws are actually stricter than the federal government's.

Harris and the DoJ are both seeking an injunction to prevent eBay from entering into any further no-poaching agreements, in addition to damages. Both complaints were filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose, and no trial date has yet been set. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.