Court rejects $325M wage-fixing settlement, says Apple, others should 'pay their fair share'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2014
A federal judge on Friday rejected a settlement proposal put forth by Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe that would have seen the Silicon Valley giants pay $324.5 million to end a long-running class action lawsuit alleging that they conspired to suppress salary inflation among workers.

Jobs and Schmidt
Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt during the iPhone's introduction at MacWorld in 2007.


The rejection comes nearly three months after the settlement -- in which each affected worker would have received between $2,000 and $8,000 -- was first submitted for the court's approval. Presiding Judge Lucy Koh ruled that offer was not significant enough when compared to the settlement previously reached with Intuit, Pixar, and Lucasfilm in the same case, according to Bloomberg.

"The remaining defendants should, at a minimum, pay their fair share as compared to the settled defendants, who resolved their case with plaintiffs at a state of the litigation where defendants had much more leverage over plaintiffs," Koh wrote.

A number of Silicon Valley employees filed suit against Apple, Google, and the rest in 2011, alleging that the companies had illegally agreed not to hire each other's employees, effectively reducing competition and causing wages to stagnate. Among the reams of evidence submitted in the employees' favor was an email from late Apple CEO Steve Jobs to Google cofounder Sergey Brin in which Jobs threatened "war" against Google over the search company's hiring of Apple engineers.

Were the suit to continue to trial, the plaintiffs could stand to win as much as $3 billion -- an award that could be trebled on antitrust grounds. A similar lawsuit brought against the same firms by the U.S. Department of Justice was settled in 2010.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,428member
    Oh what a creepy looking SOB Schitt is.
  • Reply 2 of 23
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Oh what a creepy looking SOB Schitt is.

    He just looks ready to stab Jobs in the back.
  • Reply 3 of 23
    john12345john12345 Posts: 152member

    Those poor silicon valley engineers.   Come on Apple/Google, they need to upgrade their BMW 350s!

  • Reply 4 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by john12345 View Post

     

    Those poor silicon valley engineers.   Come on Apple/Google, they need to upgrade their BMW 350s!


     

    What Apple, Google, and a bunch of other companies did was illegal, and pretty shitty.  

  • Reply 5 of 23
    jmz101jmz101 Posts: 9member
    I think the main reason it was done was so that employees wouldn't be hired solely for trade secrets. Otherwise employees would be jumping back and forth based on giving competitors insights and technology. I'm guessing Steve thought he was doing everyone a favor by staying above the pettiness that probably went on. His line if thinking probably benefited everyone - including employees. Hard to hire people when you are in court defending your patents and/or technology.
  • Reply 6 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member

    Thomas Jefferson said it best: "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."

  • Reply 7 of 23
    [QUOTE]Originally Posted by john12345

    Those poor silicon valley engineers. Come on Apple/Google, they need to upgrade their BMW 350s!
    [/QUOTE]

    What Apple and Google did, plain and simply, was take money from the bottom-level employees and give it out as zillion-dollar bonuses for top execs. Apple employees got 1% annual raises instead of, perhaps, 5%. Way behind inflation. This would actually affect where employees could afford to live.

    It's flat out HEINOUS, and it's also SO illegal there's a special word for it: COLLUSION.

    The real pity is that this collusion impacted the movie industry computer graphics employees even more, but those companies have settled already, and the employees in question are getting very little settlement money.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    Judge Lucy Koh consistently rules based on her personal feels and emotions. She needs to be removed from the bench.
  • Reply 9 of 23
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    jmz101 wrote: »
    I think the main reason it was done was so that employees wouldn't be hired solely for trade secrets.

    "Good companies copy but great companies steal...other employees".

    ;)
  • Reply 10 of 23
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,671member
    I wonder what your next post will be like, in 2015.
  • Reply 11 of 23

    I wish it would go to trial so that we all could learn the full truth. We would learn the motivations and the claimed reasons for this happening. When such cases settle it just sweeps the truth under the rug to remain hidden so the guilty parties don't get tainted.

  • Reply 12 of 23
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     

    Thomas Jefferson said it best: "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."


    Corporations themselves are created as legal entities, so you analogy is a bit strange there. The actions referred to are on the part of a legally recognized entity, not on the part of an individual person.

  • Reply 13 of 23
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,428member
    cali wrote: »
    He just looks ready to stab Jobs in the back.

    He was, and did.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by john12345 View Post

     

    Those poor silicon valley engineers.   Come on Apple/Google, they need to upgrade their BMW 350s!




    Engineers aren't paid enough and that is a major reason why there are arguably not enough students in the west choosing it as a career.  But you have a point, by shafting all their engineers, Apple could afford to pay the rest of the Apple Hierarchy more, the poor things, only being able to buy a new private business jet every other year.

  • Reply 15 of 23
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jmz101 View Post



    I think the main reason it was done was so that employees wouldn't be hired solely for trade secrets. Otherwise employees would be jumping back and forth based on giving competitors insights and technology. I'm guessing Steve thought he was doing everyone a favor by staying above the pettiness that probably went on. His line if thinking probably benefited everyone - including employees. Hard to hire people when you are in court defending your patents and/or technology.



    So you would be better off if you earned less.

     

    Steve was doing Steve a favour.

     

    The sort of employees under discussion are the calibre of people who create trade secrets - that is why they are sought after.  They should be entitled to earn as much as they can get.

  • Reply 16 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

     

    I wish it would go to trial so that we all could learn the full truth. We would learn the motivations and the claimed reasons for this happening. When such cases settle it just sweeps the truth under the rug to remain hidden so the guilty parties don't get tainted.


    The truth is most of these people are the ones who work themselves to death to bring us great products, yet they are paid a fraction of what their bosses are paid who practically just take credit for the work that they do.  Why do you think people leave companies?  

     

    Every wonder why there is such a noticeable difference in the quality of Apple's software in the past 4 years?  They hired lower skilled employees for less pay and hired incompetent managers for more money.  Just read glassdoor.com and read what happened to the hard working employees who worked themselves to death and got squat in compensation.

     

    Jobs was a tightwad and this agreement basically made other silicon valley companies just as tight so there was no motivation to seek other employment. The cancer spread to other companies under the guise that it would keep the talent when basically they just quit and decided to sue.

  • Reply 17 of 23
    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

    If he was so afraid of former employees stealing trade secrets he should have included stipulations on there employee contract…

     

    That’s exactly what they did. Except you were against it just a few sentences ago.

  • Reply 18 of 23
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    That’s exactly what they did. Except you were against it just a few sentences ago.




    He was against NDAs? That is the typical way to retain secrets. Retaining people comes down to engaging projects and whether they can afford to live reasonably within a reasonable commuting distance.

  • Reply 19 of 23
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post

    He was against NDAs? That is the typical way to retain secrets. Retaining people comes down to engaging projects and whether they can afford to live reasonably within a reasonable commuting distance.

     

    Ah, you’re right, but how would you delineate NDA and hiring in a contract? If you’re hired for what you know and what you know is unable to be used…

  • Reply 20 of 23
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    Ah, you’re right, but how would you delineate NDA and hiring in a contract? If you’re hired for what you know and what you know is unable to be used…


     

    I'm not sure I understand you here. An NDA would cover confidential details of their projects as well as company IP. Their general knowledge and proven ability to solve problems should be enough to receive an offer of employment from another company. This doesn't just apply to Apple. Consider the example of military contractors. There is quite a lot that they can't take from one job to another, but that doesn't devalue their experience or track record. If the only advantage of hiring someone from the outside was insider knowledge of specific IP, Apple and other companies would end up filling all non-entry level positions from inside the company. As you know this is not the case.

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