updated 11:45 am EST, Fri January 27, 2012
Apple, Google must face job poaching claims
Northern California district court judge Lucy Koh ruled late Thursday that multiple technologies can't dismiss a lawsuit over anti-poaching deals. Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar will have to face the allegations that they unfairly hurt compensation and job chances by making informal pacts to avoid recruiting each other's staff. Judge Koh's view echoed those of the raw evidence, which confirmed individual deals but didn't show that the industry at large was colluding against recruiting attempts.
The companies targeted by the lawsuit have to hand over material that outlines the anti-poaching terms, and their attorneys will be legally required to testify if asked.
One of the attorneys for the dissatisfied employees, Joseph Saveri, anticipated that the combined damages could equate to hundreds of millions of dollars. How he calculated that wasn't given out, although thousands of San Francisco Bay Area workers may have been denied larger salaries and benefits.
Agreements were most often made either to avoid giving up trade secrets too easily through mass poaching of employees or else as goodwill gestures between companies that didn't want excess antagonism. While the deals didn't prevent employees actively choosing to leave, they nonetheless risked creating a stagnant job market where workers would be tied to companies for years longer than they would otherwise. [via Bloomberg; image via Nurmib at Wikipedia]