Judge Approves $415 Million Settlement In The No-Poaching Lawsuit Against Tech Companies
A U.S district judge Lucy Koh has granted final approval to a $415 million settlement that ends a high profile lawsuit in which workers accused Apple, Google and two other Silicon Valley companies of conspiring to hold down salaries.
The plaintiffs alleged that Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp and Adobe Systems Inc. agreed to avoid poaching each other’s employees, thus limiting job mobility and, as a result, keeping a lid on salaries.
Judge Lucy Koh rejected the first proposed settlement, worth $324 million, in August last year, saying that it wasn’t high enough to make up for the lost wages employees may have suffered after the companies involved in the case allegedly set up no-poaching agreements that allowed them to set and limit wages.
Attorneys representing those workers had asked for about $81 million in fees. However, Koh decided such an award would be an inappropriate “windfall” for the lawyers, and awarded about $US40 million instead. Koh added that the $415 million settlement was fair for the thousands of workers involved.
The antitrust lawsuit was first filed in 2011. It has been closely watched because of the possibility that big damages might be awarded and for the opportunity to peek into the world of some elite U.S. tech firms.
The case was based largely on emails between former Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and other top tech executives, in which they discussed plans to prevent each other from poaching engineers.