US judge approves US$415mil settlement in tech worker lawsuit

  • TECH
  • Thursday, 03 Sep 2015

The end: A lawsuit accusing Google, Apple and two other Silicon Valley companies of colluding to prevent poaching each other's prized engineers and keep salaries low has finally been settled.

SAN FRANCISCO: A US judge granted final approval to a US$415mil (RM1.75bil) 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. 

In a ruling on Sept 2, US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, found the deal was fair to the thousands of plaintiff workers in the class action. 

Attorneys representing those workers had asked for about US$81mil (RM342.96mil) in fees. However, Koh decided such an award would be an inappropriate "windfall" for the lawyers, and awarded about US$40mil (RM169.36mil) instead. 

The antitrust class action lawsuit was 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 US tech firms. 

The case was based largely on e-mails in which Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, former Google chief executive officer Eric Schmidt and some of their rivals detailed plans to avoid poaching each other's prized engineers. — Reuters 

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