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
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.