Recruiting high tech talent is crucial to survival and growth in the highly competitive tech sector where even computer security specialists and web developers can earn in excess of $100,000 per year from Silicon Valley companies. Employees depend on competition to advance their careers, earn more and generate opportunities at competing companies that may offer a better fit, a brighter future or better working conditions.
But what's a high tech employee to do, or workers in any sector or industry, if employers band together and agree not to poach employees from one another? Is such an agreement legal? Do companies violate anti-trust laws by entering into such agreements with one another? Is class action status available to affected employees?
These are just some of the questions raised by a recent lawsuit flied in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, which claims that a who's who of Silicon Valley high tech companies, including Google, Intel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Adobe, Apple and Intuit, entered into a secret no-poaching agreement not to hire each other's best workers. The suit claims this practice allowed the companies to keep wages artificially low, violated antitrust law and prevented bidding wars for top talent.
The companies respond, claiming that some had one-to-one pacts among themselves which grew out of contracts under which they worked together on various joint ventures, but deny wrongdoing or an industry-wide agreement.
One antitrust lawyer, who worked for the Federal Trade Commission and helped to investigate Microsoft in the 1990's, notes that antitrust cases about hiring practices are difficult to win and doubts that anyone at the companies being sued is losing any sleep because of the lawsuit.
SAC Attorneys LLP handles contract disputes and litigation involving sale and purchase contracts, venture financing, partnership agreements and many other commercial, employment and intellectual property agreements. Call us for a free consultation.
Find us at www.sacattorneys.com
Game Show Participants Agree To Share Prize, End Up In Court
An American man who won an Abu Dhabi based spin off of The Apprentice is being sued by a female contestant he teamed up with in the final round of the show, after failing to pay her one half of the $1 million prize, as they allegedly agreed.
It's not clear if this Abu Dhabi spin off, which filmed in 2008 and 2009, was authorized by the producers of the US hit series. Donald Trump certainly took no part. His role was played by the then CEO of Hydra Properties. Hydra Properties is a company which currently describes itself as a major developer of residential, commercial and mixed use properties in the UAE, with more than 5,000 workers mobilised across 10 sites delivering steady construction progress.
As for the lawsuit, the plaintiff, though eliminated from the show prior to the finals, was brought back with another contestant to join the two contestants who had survived and made it to the final round. She joined forces with one of them and they allegedly agreed to share any prize winnings, as well as embark on a joint business venture with each serving as equal partner.
But after her comrade was awarded the $1 million, he informed her that he would not be sharing any of the prize winning money.
Notably, her complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that their agreement to share the prize was in the form of a written agreement signed March 31, 2009. The agreement is attached as an Exhibit to the Complaint, but unfortunately was not scanned as part of the file we reviewed.
SAC Attorneys LLP is a law firm that works proactively with business clients to lessen the risk of disputes, but can litigate when necessary. Our San Jose civil litigation attorneys can also help you solve problems quickly and efficiently through litigation alternatives such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration.