Apple, Google, others hit with antitrust class action lawsuit over ‘no solicitation’ agreements

Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe are among the companies named in a new class actions lawsuit filed on Wednesday in the state of California. The suit, filed by former Lucasfilm software engineer Siddharth Hariharan, alleges that Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar violated antitrust laws by conspiring to fix employee pay.” Hariharan claims that these companies have colluded to limit career opportunities and impose artificial salary caps for employees by entering into agreements that prevented the companies named in the suit from hiring employees away from each other. “My colleagues at Lucasfilm and I applied our skills, knowledge, and creativity to make the company an industry leader,” Hariharan said in a statement.  “It’s disappointing that, while we were working hard to make terrific products that resulted in enormous profits for Lucasfilm, senior executives of the company cut deals with other premiere high tech companies to eliminate competition and cap pay for skilled employees.” Hit the break for the full press release.

Antitrust Class Action Lawsuit Seeks Damages For Workers Harmed By “No Solicitation” Agreements In High-Tech Industry

Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar Charged With Violating Antitrust Law by Conspiring To Suppress Compensation Of Their Employees

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – (May 4, 2011) – Joseph R. Saveri of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP announced that Siddharth Hariharan, a former software engineer at Lucasfilm and founder and CEO of InEarth, today filed a class action lawsuit charging that several of the nation’s leading high-tech companies violated antitrust laws by conspiring to fix the pay of their employees and entering into “No Solicitation” agreements with each other.  The complaint seeks restitution for lost compensation and treble damages for the anti-competitive employment practices of Adobe Systems Inc., Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corporation, Intuit Inc., Lucasfilm Ltd., and Pixar.

“My colleagues at Lucasfilm and I applied our skills, knowledge, and creativity to make the company an industry leader,” stated Mr. Hariharan.  “It’s disappointing that, while we were working hard to make terrific products that resulted in enormous profits for Lucasfilm, senior executives of the company cut deals with other premiere high tech companies to eliminate competition and cap pay for skilled employees.”

“Competition in the labor market results in better salaries, enhanced career opportunities for employees, and better products for consumers,” stated Mr. Saveri.  “We estimate that because of reduced competition for their services, compensation for skilled employees at Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar was reduced by 10 to 15 percent.  These companies owe their tremendous successes to the sacrifices and hard work of their employees, and must take responsibility for their misconduct.”

Factual Allegations

The complaint alleges the conspiracy among defendants consisted of (1) agreements not to actively recruit each other’s employees; (2) agreements to provide notification when making an offer to another’s employee (without the knowledge or consent of that employee); and (3) agreements to cap pay packages offered to prospective employees at the initial offer.

Starting in 2005 with Lucasfilm and Pixar, and continuing until at least 2009 with all defendants, the companies entered into “No Solicitation” agreements with knowledge of the overall conspiracy and with the intent to reduce employee compensation.  As additional companies joined the conspiracy, competition among participating companies for skilled labor decreased.  Compensation of defendants’ employees was less than what would have prevailed in a properly functioning labor market where employers compete for workers.

The complaint for damages follows an investigation last year by the United States Department of Justice into similar misconduct by defendants.  After that investigation was made public, defendants agreed to end the anticompetitive agreements.  However, no compensation was provided to employees of defendants.  Today’s class action was filed to seek lost pay for the employees who were targeted by defendants’ conspiracy.

The lawsuit was filed in California Superior Court in Alameda County.  Mr. Hariharan seeks to represent a nationwide class of all employees who were harmed by defendants’ unlawful agreements.  A copy of the complaint is attached and available at http://www.lieffcabraser.com/antitrust/case/344/high-tech-workers-class-action-lawsuit

Information for Affected Employees

Current and former employees of Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar who wish to learn more about this lawsuit or to report their experiences in seeking employment and salary increases should visit

http://www.lieffcabraser.com/antitrust/case/344/high-tech-workers-class-action-lawsuit

Or they many contact Lieff Cabraser attorney Dean Harvey at (415) 956-1000 or dharvey@lchb.com.

There is no charge or obligation for our review of your claim.  All information will be kept strictly confidential as provided under law.

blog comments powered by Disqus