updated 04:00 pm EDT, Wed May 4, 2011
Apple, Adobe, Google, Lucasfilm included in suit
Former Lucasfilm employee Siddharth Hariharan has filed a lawsuit against a long list of tech companies, accusing the group of conspiring to limit compensation for key staff. Joseph Saveri, the attorney representing Hariharan, claims the "no solicitation" agreements, which prohibit companies from poaching employees from competitors, violate antitrust laws. The list of accused companies includes Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar.
"It's disappointing that, while we were working hard to make terrific products that resulted in enormous profits for Lucasfilm, senior executives of the company cut deals with other premiere high tech companies to eliminate competition and cap pay for skilled employees," Hariharan said in a statement.
Saveri suggests the anti-poaching deals between the accused companies may have resulted in salary reductions of 10 to 15 percent for essential employees.
Aside from the basic anti-poaching terms, the agreements are also said to require companies to provide notification when they make an offer to a competitor's employee. The defendants are accused of further conspiring to limit compensation packages to the levels referenced in the initial offer. All of the practices were said to have occurred without the knowledge or consent of employees.
The suit follows a Department of Justice inquiry that focused on most of the companies named in the suit. The group eventually agreed to a settlement that would put an end to the anti-poaching deals and open the door for standard hiring and recruiting practices, though the companies never faced any financial penalties.
The law firm representing Hariharan is seeking class-action status to cover all employees affected by the anti-poaching agreements. The complain seeks restitution for the allegations of lost compensation, along with treble damages for the anti-competitive practices.