Google, Apple. Intel and several other companies offered $324.5 million for settling a wage-fixing lawsuit, which was rejected by a United States District court judge.
The settlement was rejected on the basis that more than 60,000 top-level workers were affected after companies like Google, Apple, Intel and several others blocked them from getting better opportunities. The ruling by Judge Lucy Koh, Northern District of California stated that the lawsuit was strong enough and the settlement must be higher. She went on by saying that there was “compelling evidence” against the companies including Adobe that conspired together block their employees.
Bill Campbell, Google adviser and former Apple employee and Apple’s Steve Jobs were “key players in creating and enforcing anti-solicitation agreements”. Koh mentioned that there was substantial evidence of a major role played by Jobs and evidence also showed the exchange of emails between high-level executives like Campell, Jobs and others for planning.
Earlier in April, Apple, Google,Intel and Adobe had announced that they had reached a deal with employees who accused them of wage-fixing. The amount of $324.5 million deal was revealed to avoid the higher damages that might be awarded by the court. The plaintiffs could have received about $9 billion in damages if their lawsuit was approved.
Daniel Girard, a lawyer for one of the objectors, said he is “very pleased that the court agreed with his position.” It is unclear whether the objectors would be included in any future settlement negotiations.
The issue began in 2001 when a LucasFilm engineer filed a lawsuit accusing the Silicon Valley companies for conspiring for keeping wages low. Eventually, during 2005 and 2010 many lawsuits followed that affected more than 65,000 employees. Apple and Google refused to comment on the ruling. Chuck Mulloy, Intel’s spokesman said the company was disappointed by the ruling and has not decided the next move. Adobe did not comment on the ruling.
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