Google, Apple hit with antitrust labor suit

Tech giants accused of colluding to keep wages down

Companies are always trying to keep costs down, and this includes keeping a close eye on wages. This is perfectly legal, of course – unless the companies are colluding with each other to keep those wages down artificially. That is the charge that workers in Silicon Valley have brought against two of the largest tech companies in the world: Google and Apple.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh granted class-action certification to a group of Silicon Valley workers who claim that the tech companies tacitly agreed to stop recruiting each other’s workers. This, of course, would serve to keep wages down, potentially keeping money out of the pockets of thousands of workers. The original group of affected individuals topped 150,000, but that number has dropped to about 60,000 based on recent settlements by other companies originally named in the suit: Pixar, Lucasfilm and Intuit.

Back in August, the tech giants tried to convince the judge to dismiss the case, but she felt the workers had a strong case. The claims are similar to those levied against tech companies in 2010. Those claims were eventually settled with the Justice Department.

The remaining companies named in the suit are Intel and Adobe.

The defense is hoping to have the case thrown out on the basis of undue class certification.  A lawyer for the case, Robert Van Nest said in the initial hearing that the plaintiffs, “Need to show that the wage structures were so rigid that they would’ve affected all or nearly all of the class.” Van Nest said that they had failed to do so thus far.

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Managing Editor

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Managing Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance arenas. Rich earned a B.A. in English Literature...

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