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Apple, Google & others could pay 'blindingly high' $9B in anti-poaching class-action suit - Page 2

post #41 of 90
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Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Nope. Google was plainly evil for playing along as were the rest of them. But it apparently all began with threats from Steve Jobs.

 

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post #42 of 90
It can't be blindingly high: they were ALREADY blind (at best) to do this in the first place...
post #43 of 90
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Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Many employees are required to agree to a 'non-compete' clause, and often held to it even if fired.

non-compete clauses are generally illegal in california ... not sure about elsewhere.

(full disclosure: i am not a lawyer, and i did not stay at a holiday inn express last night.)
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post #44 of 90
There are companies that specialize in "head hunting" so there is no need for Google to do any active recruiting on their own. They would just contract it out if they wanted to go after Apple employees. 

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post #45 of 90
It seems to me if the evidence so damning as claimed criminal charges are not out of the question. Well, in theory anyway. I am sure these companies have enough money to get whatever political influence they need to see that it won't happen.

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post #46 of 90
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Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

Where's the actual damage to the employees?

The assessment of actual damage will result in a more realistic dollar amount. $90,000 for all of 100,000 employees is pretty unrealistic. There also has to be evidence that there was an intent to move from one company to another because if an employee didn't have that intention then there was no harm caused. Then there's the cases where no-poaching wasn't enforced and employees successfully moved from one company to another. Then they have to assess the potential salary raise in moving from one company to another and the frequency of the moving resulting in the gain. I would say each employee would move no more than 3 times during a 10 year period and the gain each time $10-20k so say they are on $40k and Google would offer $50k and another company offered $60k and this possibility was removed, they'd potentially lose $20k over the period. The amounts will vary for all of the employees. I doubt they'll go through every case but rather consider job roles and pay brackets.

Given the amount of people, I'd expect the salaries to be heavily weighted to the lower end, which wouldn't necessarily be job roles that come under the anti-poaching scheme. But say the amounts vary between $1k-20k and average at $10k, that's $1b split between multiple large companies so they pay maybe $200m each and each employee gets a small amount.
post #47 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

Aside from the obvious objections to such an absurd view, this is a class action lawsuit.  Nothing to do with Government.  Unless you think there shouldn't be laws or courts in general.

Class-actions benefit law firms.

Laws that protect individual and property rights are A-OK. Interpretation and application of those laws are usually where the problems arise.

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post #48 of 90
I honestly don't see how the companies did anything wrong. From Apple's perspective, it likely wasn't about wages. How do you come out with compelling products, if you have to keep worrying about employees from jumping ship? Every time a key employees leaves, you have to train somebody new, catch that person up to speed, and worry about information from the departing employee being passed on to a new company.
post #49 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post
 

Where's the actual damage to the employees?

 

From what I've seen this "agreement" doesn't prevent an employee from looking for work where they choose to - it prevents company A from actively trying to lure away an employee from company B. As such, I don't see how any employee could be harmed. Nobody is "forcing" them to stay with the company they're currently employed with.

Exactly ! Two things:  Show me a survey of tech wages 15 years ago and one that shows what they are today. I'll "eat my shirt" if they're not substantially higher today. Two:  Employees who are more valuable "find a way" to earn that value on their own. If they're sitting on their ass waiting for "opportunity to come a knocking".... they're not all that valuable as they might think they are, This is just another bunch, in a long line, of greedy assholes that have let Apple's earned cash pile blind them from knowing right from wrong

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post #50 of 90
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Originally Posted by TBell View Post

How do you come out with compelling products, if you have to keep worrying about employees from jumping ship? Every time a key employees leaves, you have to train somebody new, catch that person up to speed, and worry about information from the departing employee being passed on to a new company.
Tough. Law says you can't collude to stop competitive recruitment.

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post #51 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

This is just another bunch, in a long line, of greedy assholes that have let Apple's earned cash pile blind them from knowing right from wrong
Yeah, like these four guys. How dare they leave Apple and expect to be able to get another job? Whiners!

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post #52 of 90
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Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post
 

 

This is what I don't understand about this situation.  As an employee, co-founder, and VP in the software business for decades, I was always under non-compete agreements.  Those agreements can and sometimes do list specific companies for which an employee is forbid to work at for a period of, typically, 18 months after the end of their employment with the company with which the non-compete is executed.  So my question is, why didn't each company simply place every valued employee under a non-compete agreement listing specific competitors?  And given that non-competes, of some sort, were likely in place for valued employees, who are the 100,000+ employees who are suing?  Those who were not under non-compete agreements and would likely not have been recruited away anyway?

Non-compete agreements are illegal. 

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post #53 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post
 

Exactly ! Two things:  Show me a survey of tech wages 15 years ago and one that shows what they are today. I'll "eat my shirt" if they're not substantially higher today. Two:  Employees who are more valuable "find a way" to earn that value on their own. If they're sitting on their ass waiting for "opportunity to come a knocking".... they're not all that valuable as they might think they are, This is just another bunch, in a long line, of greedy assholes that have let Apple's earned cash pile blind them from knowing right from wrong

There was an actual guy who was being recruited from Apple, who Google then stopped recruiting. 

 

In any case this is clearly designed to keep all wages down. All wages.


Edited by asdasd - 4/8/14 at 10:36am
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post #54 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


The assessment of actual damage will result in a more realistic dollar amount. $90,000 for all of 100,000 employees is pretty unrealistic. There also has to be evidence that there was an intent to move from one company to another because if an employee didn't have that intention then there was no harm caused. Then there's the cases where no-poaching wasn't enforced and employees successfully moved from one company to another. Then they have to assess the potential salary raise in moving from one company to another and the frequency of the moving resulting in the gain. I would say each employee would move no more than 3 times during a 10 year period and the gain each time $10-20k so say they are on $40k and Google would offer $50k and another company offered $60k and this possibility was removed, they'd potentially lose $20k over the period. The amounts will vary for all of the employees. I doubt they'll go through every case but rather consider job roles and pay brackets.

Given the amount of people, I'd expect the salaries to be heavily weighted to the lower end, which wouldn't necessarily be job roles that come under the anti-poaching scheme. But say the amounts vary between $1k-20k and average at $10k, that's $1b split between multiple large companies so they pay maybe $200m each and each employee gets a small amount.

 

 

No, its not going to work like that. Basically these agreements reduce everybody's wages across the board. If the high earners move on, they are replaced by people demanding more money ( as they move into higher paid positions and because the original company will increase wages to keep people). If people get high wages doing X somebody else will demand X, and so on. It will increase across the board. So all employees can join this class action suit.

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post #55 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post
 

Exactly ! Two things:  Show me a survey of tech wages 15 years ago and one that shows what they are today. I'll "eat my shirt" if they're not substantially higher today. 

You mean now that an anti-poaching agreement has been discovered? Sure.

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post #56 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by asdasd View Post
...... In any case this is clearly designed to keep all wages down. All wages.

I think it's more a case of trying to protect company "secrets".  A company, like Apple or Google, has more to lose on "lost info" than it does on paid wages.

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post #57 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by asdasd View Post
 

You mean now that an anti-poaching agreement has been discovered? Sure.

A decent survey would show "when" and how much wages have increased. Would that be enough to satisfy you ?

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post #58 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Many employees are required to agree to a 'non-compete' clause, and often held to it even if fired.

 

Non-compete agreements are generally illegal in California, at least for employees, and that covers the majority of Apple, Google, and Adobe employees.

post #59 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post
 

I think it's more a case of trying to protect company "secrets".  A company, like Apple or Google, has more to lose on "lost info" than it does on paid wages.

I think you're wrong. You protect "secrets" through non-disclosure agreements and IP patents (i.e. legally). Conspiring to collude is not only illegal but rather ineffective. 

post #60 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by asdasd View Post

Non-compete agreements are illegal. 

It depends on the state. Illegal in California, legal in New York.
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post #61 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

It depends on the state. Illegal in California, legal in New York.

In any event that's not what happened here. None of the employees had a say in the matter or agreed in any way to a no-poaching scheme.
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post #62 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Many employees are required to agree to a 'non-compete' clause, and often held to it even if fired.

Even if Non-competes were legal in California- it's an at-will state.  So a "non-compete" clause means little to nothing.  So is Texas.  Trust me, I know this with first hand experience.

 

Disclaimer: I, too, am not a lawyer but stayed at a Holiday Inn express last night.  Although, I did say "trust me", so you have to.  Or not.


Edited by Andysol - 4/8/14 at 11:36am

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post #63 of 90
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Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Even if Non-competes were legal in California- it's an at-will state.  So a "non-compete" clause means little to nothing.  So is Texas.  Trust me, I know this with first hand experience.

Disclaimer: I, too, am not a lawyer but stayed at a Holiday Inn express last night.  Although, I did say "trust me", so you have to.  Or not.

New York is an 'at will' state, and 'non compete' agreements are legal and enforceable. I've witnessed this most notably with radio personalities. If their contract doesn't get renewed they almost all go get work in another state because of the non compete agreement.
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post #64 of 90
I'm not sure how this will go, but I frankly have absolutely no problem with anti-poaching agreements. Secondly, I don't see how this could have harmed 100,000 people. These agreements usually pertain to higher-level employees, executives, etc. It's very unlikely 100,000 or even 10,000 would be affected. The number is probably more like 500-1000 people. Last, it seems to me that proving damages in a civil action case is going to be an uphill climb. Are we to believe that all, most or even significant number of employees were prevented from working and lost wages over this? These were current employees of firms, so they already had jobs. Are they suing for the lost raises they theoretically would have gotten? Many, many questions.
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post #65 of 90
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Originally Posted by newbee View Post
 

Exactly ! Two things:  Show me a survey of tech wages 15 years ago and one that shows what they are today. I'll "eat my shirt" if they're not substantially higher today. Two:  Employees who are more valuable "find a way" to earn that value on their own. If they're sitting on their ass waiting for "opportunity to come a knocking".... they're not all that valuable as they might think they are, This is just another bunch, in a long line, of greedy assholes that have let Apple's earned cash pile blind them from knowing right from wrong

First, there are a lot of smoking guns that these guys colluded. Which pretty much means plaintiffs have most of their work done for them. As for wages being higher now than 15 years, that's overly simplistic. I'm sure it will be very easy for said plaintiffs to find many expert witnesses that can easily show that engineer wages, while higher than 15 years ago, have increased nowhere near as much as corporate profits, stock price, and/or executive compensation over the same time. So when you convince a judge and/or jury that the execs colluded AND that wages appear to not have kept pace with the factors with which they usually rise, you pretty much win.

 

Apple in particular has a serious problem with optics here. First, you've got Steve Jobs showing his more, uh…cavalier side in frickin' writing! Second, you have Apple enjoying enormous success, and therefore profitability over the time covered by this collusion. Finally, you have Apple making it clear they're more than willing to spend huge sums to protect their IP against infringers all over the world! All those factors make it really hard to reasonably complain about losing engineers, especially when you broke the law to prevent it.

 

As for your second point, the reason Apple, Google, et al are going to pay through the nose for this is that when you collude you negate the ability of "[e]mployees who are more valuable 'find a way' to earn that value on their own." They can't find it at Google, Adobe, Intel or Intuit, or more accurately, they no longer have to prove that they can't, the collusion implies it. 

post #66 of 90
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Originally Posted by TBell View Post

I honestly don't see how the companies did anything wrong. From Apple's perspective, it likely wasn't about wages. How do you come out with compelling products, if you have to keep worrying about employees from jumping ship? Every time a key employees leaves, you have to train somebody new, catch that person up to speed, and worry about information from the departing employee being passed on to a new company.

This.

The spirit of clauses in employee contracts preventing them from working for competitors is to protect R&D, operational methods and future plans on which perhaps little funds have yet to be spent. The spirit of the clauses is not to suppress remuneration.

Also, the sort of people who are subject to such clauses, by and large, receive a much more than comfortable remuneration, particularly when measured against average remunerations. As such, pleads for sympathy for their case of unfair hardship don't find me shouting 'hear, hear'.

Also the sort of people in question, by and large, work for large corporations who employ hundreds, if not thousands, of others. Given that such companies operate in a competitive environment, any employee joining a company and disclosing the former company's future intentions, operational methods or production secrets will undermine the competitive advantage of the former firm and potentially jeopardise the jobs of many.

The bigger picture, the external costs, of an individual's actions needs to be included in the analysis of 'what is fair'.

I wonder whether employees of a firm would be able to sue a leaver joining another firm and taking trade secrets and thus potentially jeopardising their jobs as they are market competitors? I dunno, where does it all end?
post #67 of 90
Quote:
 I'm not sure how this will go, but I frankly have absolutely no problem with anti-poaching agreements.

That's fine, everyone's entitled to their opinion. Luckily for the rest of us, it's not your opinion that matters. What matters is that Federal courts have a huge problem with Collusion, and Conspiracy to commit it.

 

Quote:
 Secondly, I don't see how this could have harmed 100,000 people.

Oh, it's not that hard. When you and other people collude to limit your employees' ability to change companies, it effects all the employees of your companies combined. The 100,000 number is just the people willing to sign on to a suit that may limit their "hirability" at any of the effected companies in the future. Frankly, I'm surprised it's not higher.

 

Quote:
 These agreements usually pertain to higher-level employees, executives, etc.

Enforceable non-competes (i.e. non-solicitation/non-disclosure agreements usually do), but that's the stink of this case. You have Steve Jobs, in writing, basically telling Google not to hire 4 nobody engineers in France (and Google saying they'll comply to avoid offending Apple). That opens a huge can of "what-ifs" that makes it really easy for plaintiff's attorneys reasonably convince a jury of the worst.

 

Quote:
 Last, it seems to me that proving damages in a civil action case is going to be an uphill climb.

That's the easy part, ever hear the phrase "lies, damn lies, and statistics?" Both sides will find no shortage of accountants, demographers, actuaries, and statistician expert witnesses who will all provide no shortage of beguiling figures to support both sides assertions. But when plaintiffs have the smoking guns it's really hard for defense to say "yeah, our guys conspired and colluded to suppress wages, but they didn't surpress then very much." That's like a wife-beater saying he didn't hit her very hard.

 

Quote:
 Are they suing for the lost raises they theoretically would have gotten?

That's exactly what they're suing for, and theory is on their side when all the evidence points to collusion.


Edited by matthewmaurice - 4/8/14 at 1:40pm
post #68 of 90
Oh, the irony of billionaire CEOs who colluded to fix wages calling it "extortion" when they get sued for it.
post #69 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

I honestly don't see how the companies did anything wrong. From Apple's perspective, it likely wasn't about wages. How do you come out with compelling products, if you have to keep worrying about employees from jumping ship? Every time a key employees leaves, you have to train somebody new, catch that person up to speed, and worry about information from the departing employee being passed on to a new company.

There are emails collected as evidence claiming other techs are mad at Google for driving up wages, costing them more to hire or retain their own engineers. That hardly sounds like protecting trade secrets, does it to you?
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post #70 of 90
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Originally Posted by Michael_C View Post

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Originally Posted by dorkus maximus View Post

Poaching is by its nature selective. The higher wages that some employees might have made if they had been "poached" would not have affected the salaries of other employees. That would be like saying that when an NFL free agent signs a big contract with another team it raises the salaries of all players on all teams.
As I was reading the article, I wondered how sports teams salary caps, which are aimed to keep players wages down has managed to survive scrutiny.

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Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

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Originally Posted by Michael_C View Post

As I was reading the article, I wondered how sports teams salary caps, which are aimed to keep players wages down has managed to survive scrutiny.

Free agency would be that reason. Professional sports leagues are exempt from many laws, antitrust being one of them.

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Originally Posted by mistercow View Post

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Originally Posted by Michael_C View Post

As I was reading the article, I wondered how sports teams salary caps, which are aimed to keep players wages down has managed to survive scrutiny.

Team salary caps are there to enable small market teams to compete with large market. Cities like New York or LA generally have more cash to throw at players. If there were no salary caps, smaller teams would never be able to get any star players as large market teams would just outbid them.

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Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

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Originally Posted by Michael_C View Post

As I was reading the article, I wondered how sports teams salary caps, which are aimed to keep players wages down has managed to survive scrutiny.

Because the NFL and other major sports franchises are effectively legal monopolies with the express consent of lawmakers. There is a rich history of the corrupting influence of sports and huge amounts of money permeating public and private education, political graft and a public willingness to look the other way when they are provided bread and circuses.

I think the reason is because the leagues with salary caps have players associations which have agreed to the caps in their collective bargaining agreements.
post #71 of 90
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Originally Posted by quinney View Post

I think the reason is because the leagues with salary caps have players associations which have agreed to the caps in their collective bargaining agreements.

That too 1smile.gif
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post #72 of 90
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Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

I'm not sure how this will go, but I frankly have absolutely no problem with anti-poaching agreements. Secondly, I don't see how this could have harmed 100,000 people. These agreements usually pertain to higher-level employees, executives, etc. It's very unlikely 100,000 or even 10,000 would be affected. The number is probably more like 500-1000 people.

 

Several years ago I worked for one of the companies involved. A recruiter from another contacted me about an opportunity. After a couple email exchanges she sent me a note "I'm sorry, but I've just been informed that we are not permitted to recruit from 'xyz'".

 

I was not a high-level employee, yet clearly the "anti-poaching" agreement did apply to me. I suspect it was blanket across all employees.

post #73 of 90

Jobs' wrath makes as good an excuse as anything else, no? Kind of self-serving (and typical of Google), no?

 

Ideally, the fine would be increased to $100B, which would put Google out of business and leave Apple just fine, thank you.:p

post #74 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

Where's the actual damage to the employees?

From what I've seen this "agreement" doesn't prevent an employee from looking for work where they choose to - it prevents company A from actively trying to lure away an employee from company B. As such, I don't see how any employee could be harmed. Nobody is "forcing" them to stay with the company they're currently employed with.

And yet it's perfectly legal for an employer to require an employment contract that prohibits the employee from going to work for a competitor for a year after ending their employment. Go figure.
post #75 of 90
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Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


Government is the biggest extortion and blackmail racket on Earth.

Can Agree 100% on that assessment, I argue that rico racketeering charges should be brought against the US government since they are no better than gangsters. But they claim to do it for the kids.

post #76 of 90
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Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

And yet it's perfectly legal for an employer to require an employment contract that prohibits the employee from going to work for a competitor for a year after ending their employment. Go figure.

That's illegal in some states including California.
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post #77 of 90

I can tell you this, Google does not pay well for the average working Joe, they never have, they feel it is an honor to work for Google therefore they do not have to pay all they well. How do I know this, my wife works in the recruiting industry and she works with headhunter who pull google people out all the time and they are surprised at how much they are under paid thus making it easy to poach people. I am not sure if Apple pays top dollar, but I know people who work there and they are in no hurry to leave and they work long and hard hours, as does Google employees.

 

If you ask someone who like their job what is the top 10 things they do not like about the company or their job, their pay is usually near the bottom of the list. If you ask they same person who does not like their job what are the top 10 things they do not like, pay is usually in the top 3. 

 

It well know in the HR field it is far cheaper to make sure employees like their job and what they are doing since pay is never a factor in them staying or leaving. However, as soon as the person does no like their job, pay is usually the reason to leave.

post #78 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by igxqrrl View Post

Several years ago I worked for one of the companies involved. A recruiter from another contacted me about an opportunity. After a couple email exchanges she sent me a note "I'm sorry, but I've just been informed that we are not permitted to recruit from 'xyz'".

I was not a high-level employee, yet clearly the "anti-poaching" agreement did apply to me. I suspect it was blanket across all employees.

Now hold on...how does that indicate that the anti-poaching agreement "clearly" applied? It could have been something else. And did you suffer economically? Would the raise have been that big? I stand by what I said...I've got no problem with this even if it applied to all employees.
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post #79 of 90
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Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

I can tell you this, Google does not pay well
http://www.businessinsider.com/software-engineers-make-the-most-money-at-these-25-companies-2013-10?op=1
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post #80 of 90
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Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


Now hold on...how does that indicate that the anti-poaching agreement "clearly" applied? It could have been something else.

The exact quote from her email was "I cannot actively recruit anyone currently at xyz. I'm really sorry, I didn't realize this when I first contacted you." My interpretation of that is that an agreement was in place restricting her from actively recruiting from my employer. Perhaps there's another way to interpret it. Honestly, I didn't think much of it at the time, but it was only a few months later that the anti-poaching issue was raised.

 

Quote:
 And did you suffer economically? Would the raise have been that big?

"Suffer" is a strong word but if, hypothetically, I had not pursued the job through other means, how would I have known? As it turned out, I did pursue the job through other means, and the raise was appreciable (and appreciated!)

 

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  I stand by what I said...I've got no problem with this even if it applied to all employees.

It's fine to not have a problem with it, I was simply challenging your assertion that: 

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Secondly, I don't see how this could have harmed 100,000 people. These agreements usually pertain to higher-level employees, executives, etc. It's very unlikely 100,000 or even 10,000 would be affected. The number is probably more like 500-1000 people. 

 

An agreement that encompasses the engineers of the companies involved in this lawsuit would easily cover 100,000 people.

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