Although matters between the firms had supposedly been settled back in September 2010, a federal judge has now called the firms involved in an alleged conspiracy to not poach each others' employees into court, as employees raise a lawsuit against the companies.
The lawsuit stems from a 2009 investigation where firms such as Google, Apple and Intel were found to have explicit no-poach agreements in place, with most keeping a "do not call" list when passing on jobs to recruiters.
"They are definitely putting the interests of the company ahead of their employees ... That's fundamentally wrong." stated lead attorney, Joe Saveri, summarising the motivation behind the lawsuit, where he and his clients believe that by conspiring not to poach, the firms stifled competition, resulting in artificially low and uncompetitive salaries.
Evidence from the court filings showed a leaked email from Apple's late Steve Jobs to Google's Eric Schmidt, stating "I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this." as the firm attempted to poach an Apple employee, Google's response was that the recruiter in question would be fired, "Please extend my apologies as appropriate to Steve Jobs." stated Google's email.
It was also evident from the court filings that other firms, such as Palm, were uneasy over the no-poach requests of Apple, with the once CEO of palm responding to Steve Jobs in an email, "Your proposal that we agree that neither company will hire the other's employees, regardless of the individual's desires is not only wrong, it is likely illegal."
All the firms involved have requested that the case be dismissed, arguing that allegations of a grand conspiracy are implausible at best, however eyes remain on the case, as should it gain class action status, damages could be in the hundreds of millions.
Image credit to Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein