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Tech workers anti-poaching suit fails to get class action status for now

John Ribeiro | April 8, 2013
A court in California declined to certify as class action a lawsuit by workers alleging an illegal cartel formed by seven technology companies including Apple, Google and Intel.

The seven companies were also investigated in this connection by the U.S. Department of Justice, and they settled in 2010 while admitting no wrongdoing, but agreed not to ban cold calling and not to enter into any agreements that prevent competition for employees. The employees have held that the DOJ ultimately put an end to the allegedly illegal agreements, but the government was unable to compensate the victims of the conspiracy. The plaintiffs brought the lawsuit as private attorneys general "to pick up where the DOJ left off, to seek damages for themselves and for the Class."

"The sustained personal efforts by the corporations' own chief executives, including but not limited to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Pixar President Ed Catmull, Intuit Chairman Bill Campbell, and Intel CEO Paul Otellini, to monitor and enforce these agreements indicate that the agreements may have had broad effects on Defendants' employees," Judge Koh wrote in her ruling, citing mails between some of the chief executives. Based on the evidence, it appears that the defendant companies recognized that eliminating the anti-solicitation agreements would lead to greater competition for employees and require enhanced incentives for retaining employees, she added.



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