Feeds

US judge: no class action against tech giants' 'wage-control pact'

Disgruntled unpoached bods can continue battle, however

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A US judge is refusing to allow tech employees to band together and sue Apple, Google, and other tech firms in a class-action suit over those companies' alleged "no-hire pact" to keep wages down.

District Judge Lucy Koh said that the pact affected workers in too many different ways to allow them to be lumped together, and denied a motion to combine the employees' lawsuits into a class action.

The Department of Justice's antitrust division investigated the firms' employment practices from 2009, and concluded that they'd reached "facially anticompetitive" agreements.

The companies – including Intel, Adobe, and Pixar – didn't admit any wrongdoing or lawbreaking, but agreed not to enter into any other deals to stop each other from trying to recruit software engineers.

Since then, technology workers have brought civil lawsuits against the firms, which could expose more embarrassing communications between top execs, such as Steve Jobs threatening Palm's chief exec with a patent bashing if he didn't come in on the "gentleman's agreement" not to poach staff.

Judge Koh has denied the efforts to collectively seek damages on behalf of thousands of employees this time round, but she has left the door open, saying that lawyers can present additional evidence to convince her that a class-action suit has merit.

"The Court is keenly aware that Defendants did not produce significant amounts of discovery or make key witnesses available for depositions until after the hearing on Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification," the ruling said.

Discovery (known as disclosure in English law) is the legal process whereby items "calculated to lead to admissible evidence" must be disclosed to the opposing party.

"Since the Class Certification hearing," the ruling continued, "Plaintiffs have conducted approximately fifty depositions of Defendants' high-ranking employees, including Defendants' CEOs and heads of Human Resources. In addition, during this time, Defendants have provided Plaintiffs with over ten thousand documents."

If the plaintiffs win class certification, it will give them much greater leverage in claiming financial settlements from the defendants.

As Judge Koh's ruling contends, "The Court believes that some of the recently produced discovery may affect Plaintiffs' ability to satisfy the predominance requirement for one or both of their proposed Classes." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.