Lawsuit Claims Technology Industry Bigwigs Had Secret Anti-Poaching Pact To Keep Employee Salaries Low

The ability to play employers off bids from other companies seeking to snag the best in their fields is an important one. So much so, in fact, that workers in Silicon Valley have filed a lawsuit alleging that some of the industry’s biggest players were involved in a secret anti-poaching pact that kept salaries down and workers stuck where they were.

In a lawsuit naming executives at Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Lucasfilm, Pixar and Apple, programmers claim those companies violated antitrust laws by agreeing not to try to hire each other’s best workers, says the Associated Press. With no one trying to hire them away, employees couldn’t use that leverage to ask for higher wages.

The plaintiffs aren’t just mad at the companies in general –¬†Steve Jobs himself is named in the suit as allegedly putting together some of the “gentlemen’s agreements” while he was CEO at Apple.

Similar allegations were investigated by the Justice Department in 2010, and included all the same companies aside from Lucasfilm. That case was settled without the companies admitting any wrongdoing, but they did agree not to enter any such future agreements that would prevent them from recruiting other’s employees.

The defense teams for the companies are claiming that any agreements can be explained by collaborative efforts between businesses on a one-on-one level, and not some big conspiracy worked out in an underground lair amidst cackles of evil glee.

Suit claims Silicon Valley anti-poaching scheme [Associated Press]