Another day, another lawsuit. Joseph R. Saveri of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, says Siddharth Hariharan, a former software engineer at Lucasfilm and founder and CEO of InEarth, today filed a class action lawsuit charging that several of the nation’s leading high-tech companies — including Apple — violated antitrust laws by conspiring to fix the pay of their employees and entering into “No Solicitation” agreements with each other.
The complaint seeks restitution for lost compensation and treble damages for the anti-competitive employment practices of Apple, Adobe, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar.
“My colleagues at Lucasfilm and I applied our skills, knowledge, and creativity to make the company an industry leader,” says Hariharan. “It’s disappointing that, while we were working hard to make terrific products that resulted in enormous profits for Lucasfilm, senior executives of the company cut deals with other premiere high tech companies to eliminate competition and cap pay for skilled employees.”
The complaint alleges the conspiracy among defendants consisted of (1) agreements not to actively recruit each other’s employees; (2) agreements to provide notification when making an offer to another’s employee (without the knowledge or consent of that employee); and (3) agreements to cap pay packages offered to prospective employees at the initial offer.
Starting in 2005 with Lucasfilm and Pixar, and continuing until at least 2009 with all defendants, the companies entered into “No Solicitation” agreements with knowledge of the overall conspiracy and with the intent to reduce employee compensation, according to the lawsuit. As additional companies joined the conspiracy, competition among participating companies for skilled labor decreased, it claims. The lawsuit also says that compensation of defendants’ employees was less than what would have prevailed in a properly functioning labor market where employers compete for workers.
The lawsuit was filed in California Superior Court in Alameda County. Hariharan seeks to represent “a nationwide class of all employees who were harmed by defendants’ unlawful agreements.” A copy of the complaint is available on “Lieff Cabraser’s High-Tech Cold-Calling Antitrust Case page” (http://macte.ch/nIcaj).