Apple, Google lose bid to avoid trial on tech worker lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:26am IST

An illustration picture shows a woman holding her Apple Ipad tablet which displays a tactile keyboard under the Google home page in Bordeaux, Southwestern France, February 4, 2013. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

An illustration picture shows a woman holding her Apple Ipad tablet which displays a tactile keyboard under the Google home page in Bordeaux, Southwestern France, February 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Regis Duvignau

Related Topics

Stocks

   

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday rejected a request from Apple (AAPL.O), Google (GOOG.O) and two other tech companies to win judgment before trial in a class action lawsuit alleging a scheme to drive down wages among tech workers.

Tech workers have sued the companies, alleging they conspired to avoid competing for each other's employees in order to avert a salary war. Trial is scheduled to begin in May.

Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe argued that any no-hire agreements between the companies were reached independently, and

were not part of an overarching conspiracy. However, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California rejected that argument.

"That the agreements were entered into and enforced by a small group of intertwining high level executives bolsters the inference that the agreements were not independent," she wrote.

Representatives for Apple, Google and Adobe could not immediately be reached for comment. An Intel spokesman said the company is studying the ruling.

The case began in 2011 when five software engineers sued Apple, Google, Adobe Systems Inc, Intel Corp and others, alleging a conspiracy to suppress pay by agreeing not to recruit or hire each other's employees.

These defendants were accused of violating the Sherman Act and Clayton Act antitrust laws by conspiring to eliminate competition for labor, depriving workers of job mobility and hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation.

The case has been closely watched in Silicon Valley, with much of it built on emails among top executives, including the late Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs and former Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt.

Walt Disney Co's Pixar and Lucasfilm units and Intuit Inc have already agreed to a settlement, with Disney paying about $9 million and Intuit paying $11 million.

At a hearing this week, attorneys for Google and the plaintiffs said they were "making progress" in settlement talks.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is In re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 11-02509.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by David Gregorio)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Reuters Showcase

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence

Google bolsters artificial intelligence efforts, partners with Oxford.  Full Article 

Addressing Concerns

Addressing Concerns

China's Xiaomi shifts some smartphone user data out of Beijing on privacy concerns.  Full Article 

New Email Service

New Email Service

Google launches new email service dubbed "Inbox".  Full Article 

Apple-1 Auction

Apple-1 Auction

Early Apple computer sells for $905,000 at auction.  Full Article 

No More Nokia

No More Nokia

Microsoft looks set to drop Nokia name from smartphones.  Full Article 

Deal Talk

Deal Talk

Apple ponders sapphire options, leaves door open for GT.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage