Apple, Google, and Intel along with four other technology firms will face an antitrust lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that the companies conspired against hiring each other’s employees. The companies attempted to have the case dismissed before it went to trial, but District Judge Lucy Koh has refused the motion to dismiss.
The suit claims that the companies violated California antitrust law under the federal Sherman antitrust and the Cartwright act. The core issue in the suit is that by agreeing not to hire each other’s workers, the companies limited competition and salaries in the marketplace for workers. Judge Koh said that the existence of agreements to not cold call workers “supports the plausible inference that the agreements were negotiated, reached, and policed at the highest levels [within the companies].”
While Apple, Google, and Intel are the three largest firms in the suit, other major companies, including Adobe, Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar are included. The suit is seeking class-action status and was started by five software engineers who accuse the companies of conspiring to limit pay and job mobility by reducing competition.
“The fact that all six identical bilateral agreements were reached in secrecy among seven defendants in a span of two years suggests that these agreements resulted from collusion, and not from coincidence,” Koh said.