Updating a blog post we brought you earlier this year, multiple news outlets are reporting that evidence exists showing that tech companies in Silicon Valley struck deals on hiring to lower wages for all workers.
The Wall Street Journal reported that new documents show that Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe allegedly agreed not to poach employees from each other as a way of reducing labor costs. A class action lawsuit has been filed representing 64,000 employees, who claim that the companies colluded as a way of keeping wages low. The lawsuit is seeking $3 billion in damages.
It should be noted that in 2010, the companies settled a civil suit by the Justice Department over similar allegations by agreeing not to restrict recruiting or hiring. It has been reported that if a settlement is not reached in the case, the $3 billion sought could triple under antitrust rules.
“In today’s red-hot tech market, these companies compete fiercely for talent. But documents made public in pretrial sparring in the private lawsuit have revealed how, in the 2000s, industry executives frequently consulted one another before recruiting workers or making strategic moves,” the Journal reported.
Court documents in the case, including emails from executives with the companies, show instances where discussions over hiring engineers had taken place. In one instance, Google sought the approval of Apple to hire four software engineers who had left the company. In an email, the late Steve Jobs responded by saying, “We’d strongly prefer that you not hire these guys.”
How Can a Class Action Lawsuit Help Me Get Back Wages?
Allegations like collusion are rare—in most wage or overtime disputes involving workers, you see arguments over unpaid or unfair labor practices. California employment laws exist to ensure that employees are given fair and just compensation for the work they perform—meaning, employees can attempt to file a class action lawsuit if their wages are in dispute.
In this case, the plaintiffs are attempting to recover damages for money they could have potentially earned. Any time a company tries to enhance profits by lowering labor costs through illegal practices, it is damaging.
It should be noted that our Los Angeles employment lawyer Doug Silverstein prevailed recently against Scott Brothers Dairy, Inc. in a class action appeal involving the Dairy’s failure to provide adequate breaks and failing to pay employees.
If you have experienced an employment dispute or think that companies are working together to reduce your pay, you could file a lawsuit to obtain compensation. Our Los Angeles employment attorneys can help you decide whether to move forward with a potential case. Call our office today to schedule a consultation at (310) 273-3180.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment attorneys
Did You Know? Recruiters have estimated that alleged collusion by tech companies may have cost engineers tens of thousands of dollars per year.