Four tech giants will pay $324 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by more than 64,000 employees who alleged that the companies artificially held their salaries down by agreeing not to recruit or hire each other’s workers in violation of federal antitrust laws.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the companies for antitrust violations. The companies settled that case by agreeing to cease their anti-competitive practices, but paid no fines. Unlike the government’s lawsuit, this case brought by the employees focused on monetary damages.
The terms of the settlement will be presented for court approval in May. The companies settled rather than face a trial where almost $3 billion in damages was at stake. Evidence against the companies purportedly includes emails describing no-hire arrangements between top executives including Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and former Google Executive Officer Eric Schmidt.
While this case alleged large-scale wage fixing in violation of federal antitrust law, even small employers can run afoul of state anti-blacklisting laws. Contact MSEC with your questions.