After more than 3 years, Silicon Valley poaching lawsuit to come to an end

14 Jan 2015

Four of the largest companies in Silicon Valley have agreed to a settlement with a number of former employees who claimed the companies restricted them from changing jobs.

In the initial lawsuit beginning in 2011, plaintiffs accused tech giants Intel, Google, Apple and Adobe Systems of conspiring to stop their movement as employees between companies in the tech sector, so as to not obtain each other’s internal operations and, more importantly, alerting them to their differing salaries.

Despite the companies agreeing to a settlement of US$324.5m to end the dispute last year, US District Judge Lucy Koh rejected this offer as being too low. Now, according to Reuters, the plaintiffs have agreed to an as-yet undisclosed figure, with the companies to bring the years-long affair to a close.

However, in Koh’s explanation of her refusal of the initial sum, she said that given a similar case that involved Disney and Intuit, the settlement should be “at least US$380m”.

The original case from 2011 arose after it was revealed Apple’s late co-founder and former chief executive Steve Jobs and Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt had exchanged emails discussing the agreement not to hire one another’s staff, which goes against employment law.

Gavel image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic