Four of the biggest Silicon Valley giants – Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe – have settled a class action case alleging they conspired to hold down salaries.
The case alleged that these firms conspired amongst themselves to prevent employee poaching, a move that curbed chances for employees to get better paid jobs.
Roughly 64000 employees from these four firms filed this case on Thursday with a federal court in San Jose, California.
The brighter side is, that they have finally agreed to settle the issue to a tune of $324.5 million, which will be approved by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh at a June 19 hearing, in lieu of an objection by plaintiff Michael Devine, who feels that the settlement proved an easy way out for the companies, as this settlement amount leaves only a few thousand dollars for each employee on an average.
Initially filed in 2011, this case was being closely watched for details about the alleged pact between the firms.
The issue picked up pace with the public disclosure of an email exchange between Steve Jobs and then -Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt to stop raiding his company, to which Schmidt had agreed to fire any Google recruiter who hired an Apple employee.
He was then urged by HR directors to forward this to the other companies, eventually sealing this no- cold – call pact verbally, leaving no paper trail to be sued on later.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is In re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, 11-02509, the same act that found Toshiba Corp conspired to fix prices in the liquid crystal display market but awarded just $87 million of damages, one-tenth of what was sought.