Microsoft and Oracle sued as lawsuits over secret employee ‘no-poach’ deal stack up

22 Oct 2014

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New lawsuits have been filed against Microsoft and Oracle relating to an allegedly secret no-poach deal among tech companies in order to keep salaries low.

The two computer hardware firms join the likes of Apple, Google and Pixar in facing legal battles for their part in an alleged wage-fixing cartel that affected around 1m employees.

About a dozen firms struck a deal in 2009 to not pursue employees who were at ‘manager level or above’, even if they were approached by the candidates themselves. As reported by PandoDaily, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Google’s now-chairman Eric Schmidt were directly involved in the agreement.

Previously filed class action lawsuits claimed more that 60,000 engineers had their wages suppressed by the cartel. While the implicated companies agreed to pay a US$324m settlement, it was deemed too low by the judge. The firms filed an appeal.

According to Ars Technica, the lawsuit against Microsoft has been filed by Deserae Ryan, a former senior product manager for Xbox Live and Bing, and Trent Rau, who worked as a lead systems engineer.

Both Microsoft and Oracle had, however, already been known to be involved in the agreement when PandoDaily uncovered a Google memo about the ‘Restricted Hiring Practices’, which was filed as part of the class action case.

Update: Oracle contacted Silicon Republic with the following statement: "This lawsuit is beyond preposterous and we will move to have it promptly dismissed. Oracle was deliberately excluded from all prior litigation filed in this matter because all the parties investigating the issue concluded there was absolutely no evidence that Oracle was involved."

Gavel image via Shutterstock

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Dean is a freelance journalist and editor covering media.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com