Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) were amongst the four tech giants, the other two being Intel and Adobe, which have resumed participation in talks with tech workers as a part of the lawsuit filed against anti-poaching policies followed by companies at the time of hiring employees. While the lawsuit was filed three years ago in 2011, the settlement figure is yet to be decided upon with the last offer from the companies having been rejected by US District Judge Lucy Koh.
This high-profile case was filed by as many as 64,000 tech employees against leading companies in the sector namely Adobe, Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Intel to oppose hiring policies based on anti-poaching. As per the employees, this conspiracy of not hiring workers from any of the remaining three was aimed at putting a ceiling on wages and also ensuring that competition remained at its lowest ebb.
As proof of unfair hiring practices, plaintiffs presented the exchange of emails between Steve Jobs of Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Eric Schmidt wherein the former sent the following mail to the latter’s partner Sergey Brin –
“If you hire a single one of these people, that means war.”
This proved beyond doubt the policy of not recruiting each other’s employees by mutual consent, notify the other when making an offer to his employee and keep a lid on wages offered to prospective employees.
When US District Judge Lucy Koh rejected an offer of $324.5 million as settlement, she cited her reason as follows –
“Given the strength of the case against the companies, the plaintiffs should have gotten more money.”
Michael Devine, a former employee of Adobe, was one of the plaintiffs who openly opposed the settlement and played an instrumental role in derailing it. In the words of Justice Koh, there was enough evidence to point towards Steve Jobs of Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) having been one of the prominent, if not the main, figure in this entire conspiracy.
While mediation talks have re-opened with both Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) being actively involved, there are no details yet as to the direction in which they might be heading and details will only emerge during the next hearing of the case that has been scheduled for 10th September, 2014.
This article has been written by Vinita Basu.