EBay settles with U.S. over pact to not poach employees

WASHINGTON Fri May 2, 2014 1:10am IST

An eBay logo is projected onto white boxes in this illustration picture taken in Warsaw, January 21, 2014. Reuters/Kacper Pempel/Files

An eBay logo is projected onto white boxes in this illustration picture taken in Warsaw, January 21, 2014. Reuters/Kacper Pempel/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The online commerce company eBay Inc (EBAY.O) has agreed to refrain from making deals with other technology companies to not poach each others' employees and by doing so limit workers' access to better jobs, U.S. authorities said on Thursday.

EBay had been accused by the Justice Department of reaching an agreement with Intuit Inc (INTU.O), a software company best known for its tax preparation programs, to not recruit from each other.

"EBay's agreement with Intuit served no purpose but to limit competition between the two firms for employees, distorting the labor market and causing employees to lose opportunities for better jobs and higher pay," said Bill Baer, assistant attorney general for antitrust at the U.S. Department of Justice.

The lawsuit, and similar legal issues involving other technology companies, highlight the intense competition for talent in Silicon Valley. In this case, eBay and Intuit reached a "handshake" agreement in 2006 involving executives including then-eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and Intuit founder Scott Cook, according to court documents. At the time Cook, who was serving on eBay's board, complained about eBay poaching Intuit employees. Whitman is now chief executive at Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N).

Federal and state antitrust regulators sued eBay in 2012.

Intuit was not named as a defendant because it was already part of a wide-ranging 2010 lawsuit that federal officials brought against six technology companies, including Apple (AAPL.O) and Google (GOOG.O). Those companies settled. California also settled on Thursday with eBay, which agreed to pay the state $3.75 million to compensate people who were hurt by the no-poach agreements, among other costs.

EBay admitted no wrongdoing. It said in a statement that it believed that "the policy that prompted this lawsuit was acceptable and legal, and led to no anticompetitive effects in the talent market in which eBay competed."

"EBay competes aggressively to attract and retain the best talent, while conforming to the hiring practices standards established by the Department of Justice in prior hiring-related cases against other companies," the company added in the statement.

Asked about the eBay statement that it broke no laws, Baer told reporters: "We have no doubt that this was problematic conduct that violated the antitrust laws."

EBay's share price was little changed at $51.89 and Intuit was up about 0.2 percent at $75.92 in afternoon trading.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Additional reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Ros Krasny, Doina Chiacu, Sandra Maler and Chizu Nomiyama)

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

Consumer Confidence Index

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Deal Talk

Deal Talk

Exclusive - Lupin, U.S. firms weigh bids for GSK's mature drugs: sources  Full Article 

Classifying Banks

Classifying Banks

RBI to start announcing too-big-to-fail banks in Aug 2015  Full Article 

Corruption Probe

Corruption Probe

India to probe corruption in healthcare after TV sting.  Full Article 

Food Scandal

Food Scandal

Starbucks, Burger King dragged in as China food scandal spreads.  Full Article 

Bigger iPhones

Bigger iPhones

Apple asks suppliers to produce up to 80 mln large-screen iPhones - WSJ.  Full Article 

Bali Trade Deal

Bali Trade Deal

India keeps world guessing in countdown to landmark trade pact deadline.  Full Article 

Bangalore Sex Abuse

Bangalore Sex Abuse

Modi's BJP puts political twist on local sex abuse case   Full Article 

Yahoo to buy Flurry

Yahoo to buy Flurry

Yahoo to buy analytics startup Flurry to bolster mobile ad business.  Full Article 

Wholesale Biz

Wholesale Biz

Wal-Mart adds $102.9 million in Indian wholesale business in June.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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