ABOUT THE CASE
The Joseph Saveri Law Firm,LLP served as Co-Lead Class Counsel for a class of over 64,000 employees of leading technology companies against their employers for their alleged agreements to restrict recruiting and prevent employee turnover. In 2015, Google Inc., Apple Inc., Adobe Systems Inc., and Intel Corporation agreed to $415 million in settlements. Prior to that, Intuit Inc., Lucasfilm, Ltd., and Pixar agreed to separate settlements totaling $20 million.
The suit, In re High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, brought by former employees of the companies involved, exposed the practice by major tech industry players which allegedly collaborated to not poach each other’s employees. The plaintiff employees argued that such “no-poach” agreements limited their ability to obtain career advancement and restricted their attempts to earn higher salaries. Email exchanges among such top executives as late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs and former Google CEO and executive chairman of Alphabet Eric Schmidt revealed requests made not to hire employees away from each other.
This private litigation originated in 2011 when a former Lucasfilm software engineer filed a complaint alleging that the seven companies involved conspired to maintain low salaries by agreeing not to poach one another's employees. Other complaints ensued and were eventually combined into a single class action suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The Class, certified by the Court in 2013, comprised over 64,000 employees who worked for the seven companies between 2005 and 2010.
In re High-Tech Antitrust Litigation followed earlier suits filed by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that Google, Apple, Adobe, Intel, Intuit, Pixar, and Lucasfilm violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act by entering into a series of bilateral "no cold call" agreements to prevent the recruitment of their employees. The DOJ alleged that the companies had reached anticompetitive agreements that eliminated competition to the detriment of affected employees who were likely deprived of competitively important information and access to better job opportunities. The companies reached settlements with the government enforcement officials in 2011.
Firm founding partner Joseph Saveri was interviewed for and is featured in a 2019 documentary, When Rules Don’t Apply, which covers the case in detail.