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back to article Silicon Valley 'no-hire pact' lawsuit gets class action status for tech workers

The lawsuit against big tech firms like Google and Apple over their hiring practices has been given class action status, making it easier for the workers to lever greater wads of cash out of the companies if they win. The case alleges a conspiracy between technology firms in Silicon Valley to keep employees' wages down and curb …

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Anonymous Coward

Quite satisfied

I am quite pleased to hear of this and hope that the lawsuit is seen to a good conclusion for the plaintiffs.

Non-competitive employment clauses are illegal in the United States, as seen by the DoJ settlement, but the DoJ's settlement was nothing but a corporatist sellout with the typical 'slap on the wrist' penalties. No fines, not incarcerations, just a promise to "do better in the future" by the 6 companies judged the equivalent of 'guilty'. In the United States, if you are rich and break the law you get an Old Boy's Club wink and nudge 'You got found out. Try to be more careful next time' and the raep-and-pillage show simply goes on.

Hopefully, with a very public 'all-clear to proceed' from this judge, a bit more than a gentlemen's handshake conclusion will be forthcoming.

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Bronze badge

Re: Quite satisfied

RE: "but the DoJ's settlement was nothing but a corporatist sellout with the typical 'slap on the wrist' penalties."

The thing is, now they've settled in the one case, they'll have a damn hard job arguing against the other.

The amount of money involved is likely to be monstrous, and if it even gets as far as trial their share prices will plummet. The employees may well (quite rightly in my opinion) end up owning the companies they work(ed) for.

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Silver badge

Re: Quite satisfied

You really think that even if they expanded the class to include all employees who switched employment between them, or tried to, that they'd end up owning Apple and Google? That would be tens of millions of dollars for each employee. You really think they deserve that? The wages wouldn't have been held down by even one percent of that figure.

It would be nearly impossible to see the blip this would cause in the share price amongst all the day to day trading noise, where they regularly go up and down by several percent in a day based on rumor, economic reports that would seem to have little to do with the success of a multinational high tech company, or sometimes no reason at all, at least that anyone can discern.

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Re: Quite satisfied

It's not just about wages - it's also about lost opportunities to do something better or at least different at another company.

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this is good

being from the UK, I cannot understand how even top techies who earn 140K dollars can ever hope to put down roots in the ridiculously expensive bay area

Doesn't surprise me how the big tech companies in close physical proximity conspired to push down salaries, I thought the US took a strong stance against anti-competitive companies? or is the full weight of the law reserved mostly for foreign owned companies?

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Re: this is good

> is the full weight of the law reserved mostly for foreign owned companies?

The US judicial system is politicized, and campaign contributions are vitally important both to judges and politicians. Take a wild guess what that means for verdicts in cases involving huge, US, corporations which employ thousands of people and dole out huge sums in campaign contributions.

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Unhappy

Re: this is good

"...The US judicial system is politicised..."

Much like the UK system then: for 'politicised' read 'corrupt'.

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Class-Action status is actually bad news for the plaintiffs.

"The lawsuit against big tech firms like Google and Apple over their hiring practices has been given class action status, making it easier for the workers attorneys to lever greater wads of cash out of the companies while the workers are awarded a token percentage if they win."

There, fixed that for you.

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Bronze badge

True enough.

(see title), but in the "Open World" of the surveillance society, you have to applaud victories where you can find them. In this case, a jurisdictional fence has been drawn around the moral monsters of Silicon Valley which legal precedent will use to contain them in perpetuity.

When this "business friendliness" jurisdictional issue came before the US Supreme some years ago, the decision was that access to Federal Courts "could not be denied" to aggrieved employees. Predictably, the use of the most time consuming and expensive form of litigation conceivable (Federal Court) favored Corporations (they are "people" too, you know). False equivalency in the name of fairness won.

Not this time. Hubris just got fenced in and all the (4.5 Billion or so) wogs outside the Silicon Valley fence can be grateful.

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It'll be a cold day in hell before a US court rules against US companies.

Tech companies have way too much clout for there to be any serious sums.

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h3
Bronze badge

The thing about computing (All types) is the people doing the work aren't paid enough to finance stuff that progresses the art. (Film directors do things with the money for the good of the art). The odd person (e.g John Carmack) seems to be able to do those sort of things but it is not common.

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Silver badge

Call me cynical...

I've only read the El Reg coverage so I might be getting this wrong.

The companies agreed not to cold call another's employees to offer them jobs - I don't see how this alone would depress salaries. Surely jobs were still advertised in the public domain, and we're freely open for anyone to apply for? Does the US not have Recruitment Agencies who are free agents to head hunt? And as someone who's felt underpaid in the past, I've gone to the market and found a new job in the local area with a rival firm.

Clearly the fact the companies settled with the DoJ indicates there is something more going on, but why should lazy employees who couldn't be bothered getting off their ass to find a new job be rewarded by the courts. If you think you deserve more pay, approach the competition directly yourself, then they're not cold calling you, you're cold calling them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Call me cynical... @ Velv

Having been a victim of something very similar to this let me explain it to you. A lot of job searching is done by headhunters. You don't send a resume to a company the headhunter does. He does all of the leg work and he gets 10% of your first year salary normally paid for by the company.

One time I was called by a headhunter about company x. He asked me if I was interested and I said yes. After a month or so went by he told me they hired someone else. Ok, whatever. A second headhunter calls me. Same thing. A third headhunter calls me, same thing. This goes on for a couple of years. Finally a fourth headhunter calls me but never gives me an update. So I call him, the response? Don't call me I will call you.

At this point I am getting really paranoid.

I finally got hired by company x and found out the story. I supported company M for company S. Company x also did a lot of business with company M. Company M had told company x that they couldn't hire anyone who supported them even if they didn't work for them. This is what was happening with the headhunters. As soon as they put my resume in it was rejected because I supported company M.

Company x and M had a falling out so Company x didn't care if they made company M mad. That is when I got hired.

The difference in working for company S which was losing money and laying off, and Company x which was expanding and short on people was about $25K a year. So this cost me $50K.

I hope these people stick it to them big time.

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