Feeds

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

Disgruntled unpoached bods can continue battle, however

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.