Apple, Google agree to pay $415M to settle 'no-poach' class action suit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2015
Apple, Google and two other Silicon Valley tech companies have agreed to pay out $415 million to settle an anti-trust class action lawsuit alleging so-called "no-poach" measures artificially suppressed employee salaries.

Jobs and Schmidt


The agreed upon amount was made public on Thursday after a court filing earlier this week revealed Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe had reached new settlement terms. An official number was unavailable at the time, but a preliminary motion to settle filed in court today detail a $415 million.

Defendants agreed to a smaller $324.5 million settlement last April, but Judge Lucy Koh rejected the offer after hearing objections from named plaintiff Michael Devine, saying Apple and others should "pay their fair share."

Judge Koh's initial rejection was based in part on a prior settlement reached by codefendants Intuit, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, which settled out of court for $20 million. In total, the class will receive some $435 million, though a portion will go to legal fees.

Employees working for Apple, Google and other Silicon Valley tech firms sued their employers over alleged anti-poaching mandates enacted by executives, including late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. The complaint said defendants effectively put a cap on salaries by employing various no-poach tactics like "do not call" lists, emails and intra-office communications.

Also of note is a U.S. Department of Justice investigation and lawsuit over the same supposed anti-competitive agreements entered into by Apple and Google. The companies settled out of court in 2010.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12

    If the lawyers get the standard 33%, it works out to a bit over $4,000 per plaintiff.

    But I would guess the colluders suppressed wages by $20,000 per person, per year.

  • Reply 2 of 12
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member
    While it should be frowned upon to limit the competitive power that employees have between Tech companies. I can fully understand why companies as secretive as the tech industry aren't keen to have employees fluidly moving between businesses.

    The potential disruption to competitive advantage, business operations and brain drain is worth so much more than the value of this settlement. Indeed I don't think the motivation of these companies was to limit employee pay.

    It looks like apple et. al. will need to start using stock options to ensure that important staffers don't run off to the competition mid project, and start creating more legal activity based on non-compete clauses.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    I guess poaching is good now.

    My fried bread would agree.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    It should be mentioned that this is a vastly smaller figure than was originally sought, some $9 billion. I think these companies made out pretty good here and of course people need to realize that the only winners in class-action suits are lawyers.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,717member

    What's the take per employee, compared to the take per lawyer?  This case epitomizes everything that's wrong with class action lawsuits.

  • Reply 6 of 12
    john.b wrote: »
    What's the take per employee, compared to the take per lawyer?  This case epitomizes everything that's wrong with class action lawsuits.

    And this was also split among how many companies? Five? Six? More?

    Frankly, most class-action lawsuits should never be allowed to begin with. In this case, proof of ACTUAL, not imagined, harm looked pretty thin.
  • Reply 7 of 12

    WTF is wrong with posters here??

     

    Apple, Google and many others purposefully stopped competition for employees.

     

    And competition for something increases the price for it in the market. 

     

    So employees got paid less.

     

    THERE'S THE HARM. It's pretty simple.

     

    Unless you're saying that having multiple employers trying to hire the same people keeps wages at the exact same level.

     

    Do you hate lawyers that much???

     

    I think you do.

  • Reply 8 of 12
    tomhayes wrote: »
    WTF is wrong with posters here??

    Apple, Google and many others purposefully stopped competition for employees.

    And competition for something increases the price for it in the market. 

    So employees got paid less.

    THERE'S THE HARM. It's pretty simple.

    Unless you're saying that having multiple employers trying to hire the same people keeps wages at the exact same level.

    Do you hate lawyers that much???

    I think you do.

    Apple is besieged with lawsuits because they have money. No one sues a company that can't pay.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    Apple is besieged with lawsuits because they have money. No one sues a company that can't pay.

    Huh?? 

     

    People here are ignoring HARM this wide groups of company did.

     

    You're talking about a motivation for the REMEDY.

     

    Apple (and the other companies) made money by suppressing wages.

     

    People want to be compensated for the harm that caused them and there's another group (Lawyers) who could facilitate that compensation. And that group doesn't work for free - just like Apple their goal is to make money.

     

    The fault that lawyers got paid isn't on the VICTIMS of the HARM - it's on the perpetrators of the harm.

     

    You're blaming the wrong group. 

     

    Want to know how to hurt the lawyers? Don't do any harm.

  • Reply 10 of 12
    tomhayes wrote: »
    Huh?? 

    People here are ignoring HARM this wide groups of company did.

    You're talking about a motivation for the REMEDY.

    Apple (and the other companies) made money by suppressing wages.

    People want to be compensated for the harm that caused them and there's another group (Lawyers) who could facilitate that compensation. And that group doesn't work for free - just like Apple their goal is to make money.

    The fault that lawyers got paid isn't on the VICTIMS of the HARM - it's on the perpetrators of the harm.

    You're blaming the wrong group. 

    Want to know how to hurt the lawyers? Don't do any harm.

    Prove there was actual harm. You can't. This was an apparent violation of law, with no victims. All that was proven here was that these companies colluded, but when government and certain businesses or financial "institutions" collude it's all perfectly legal.

    And why is it legal for employees to form unions to force concessions out of businesses, but it's illegal for businesses to band together to protect their interests?

    It's laughable.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    Prove there was actual harm. You can't. All that was proven here was that these companies colluded, but when government and certain businesses or financial "institutions" collude it's all perfectly legal.



    And why is it legal for employees to form unions to force concessions out of businesses, but it's illegal for businesses to band together to protect their interests?



    It's laughable.

    There it is - you disagree that colluding to suppress wages isn't harmful.

     

    The companies tried the argument - then they lost. (Settled.)

     

    If it went to trial I contend they it would have been proven. Doesn't need to be now because a settlement has been agreed to. 

  • Reply 12 of 12
    tomhayes wrote: »
    There it is - you disagree that colluding to suppress wages isn't harmful.

    The companies tried the argument - then they lost. (Settled.)

    That's right. I do disagree that anti-wage suppression laws are nonsense. That unions are allowed to exist (and they should be for private industry, they are protected under the First Amendment constitutional right of freedom of assembly) is a huge argument against the law as it stands.

    Also the law is ridiculous. If it was an effective law, it would be applied consistently and equally. It's not about any of that. Its a political and legal tool created to extract money AND THAT'S ALL.
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