Tech Companies Settle Antitrust Lawsuit For $324 Million

Updating a story we blogged about last month, Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe have agreed to pay $324.5 million to settle an employee antitrust lawsuit over claims they conspired to curb salaries by not recruiting one another’s workers.

According to Bloomberg, the lawyers involved with the lawsuit are awaiting a judge’s preliminary approval of the settlement, which would cover more than 64,000 employees including designers and programmers in technical roles. The settlement was announced in April; however, terms were just recently released to the public.

Some legal experts consider the settlement amount disappointing, as the workers will receive only about a 10 percent of the $3 billion they planned to seek at a trial, which was set to begin last week.

The case began in 2011, as software and hardware engineers, programmers, digital artists and other technical staff alleged their employers conspired from to suppress their pay, according to Bloomberg.

Court documents showed emails between executives at the company agreeing not to hire workers from each other. In one instance, Apple’s Steve Jobs reportedly threatened a war on Google co-founder Sergey Brin if the company hired Apple workers away, according to Bloomberg.

The news site reported that under the terms of the settlement, the companies would deposit $1 million into an escrow account within 10 days of preliminary court approval, with the remainder due within seven days after final court approval. After fees, each named plaintiff in the lawsuit will reportedly be awarded close to $80,000.

Can I Sue My Employer If It Colludes With Another Employer During the Hiring Process?

Not only is it immoral for companies to collude in order to keep wages low, it is often illegal. While this settlement may not be for as much money as some people wanted, it is good news Californians in general, as it will serve as a reminder that this practice is wrong.

Keep in mind, employment disputes including wage and overtime claims can be resolved through the court. Hold your employer accountable for not paying you what you are legally entitled to receive. If you have similar claims, we would love to hear from you.

Kesluk, Silverstein & JacobLos Angeles employment attorneys

Did You Know? Hourly employees who take work home to complete may be eligible for overtime pay.