A number of companies, including Oracle, Microsoft and Ask.com have faced accusations of treating their employees in exactly the same way as Apple. For example, Microsoft’s former employees Deserae Ryan and Trent Rau have launched a lawsuit against the company, accusing it, among other things, of entering into anti-solicitation and restricted hiring agreements with other companies without the consent or knowledge of its staff.
Now tech giants are all facing lawsuits claiming that they conspired to restrict hiring of employees. The lawsuits are linked to a memo naming a long list of companies, which allegedly had made arrangements with Google to prevent poaching of employees.
The issue was started as an exhibit in another class action case in the American District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division over hiring practices. The tech specialists who filed the lawsuit alleged that a number of companies, including Google, Apple, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar, put each other’s staff off-limits to other firms by using such measures as “do-not-cold-call” lists.
The tech companies mentioned above had to settle similar charges four years ago with the Department of Justice of the United States, while admitting no wrongdoing. At the same time, the companies agreed not to ban cold calling and make any arrangements that would prevent competition for staff.
Four of them ¬– Google, Apple, Adobe and Intel – have recently appealed the District Judge Lucy Koh’s rejection of a proposed settlement of $324.5 million with the tech employees that she found was too little. Three other companies – Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar – had earlier settled for approximately $20 million.
Now the story develops further and it looks like former employees file suits against Microsoft, Ask.com and Oracle, asking that the cases be assigned to Judge Koh, because there were similarities with the previous cases against Google, Apple and other tech giants.
On the other hand, the tech firms might try to argue that since the Department of Justice didn’t see it fit to prosecute them before 2010, they must have been legal.
For example, Oracle claimed that it was excluded from all prior lawsuits filed in this matter thanks to the fact that all the parties investigating the problem came to a conclusion there was absolutely no evidence that Oracle was involved. As for Microsoft, the company said that the workers miss the fact that the Department of Justice looked into the same claims five years ago and decided there was no reason to pursue a case against Microsoft.