Judge says $415 million settlement in Silicon Valley hiring case is 'substantial'

Workers alleged 'no-poach' agreements between Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe drove down their wages

A judge has approved a US$415 million settlement in a Silicon Valley employee hiring case, calling the amount "substantial" to settle claims that Apple, Google, Adobe Systems and Intel conspired not to hire each other's workers.

The amount is fair and adequate, particularly in light of the risk that a jury may not have awarded damages, federal Judge Lucy Koh wrote in a Tuesday order in the U.S. district court for northern California.

The settlement also avoids what would have been complex and expensive litigation, she wrote.

The lawsuit constitutes one of the more high-profile class action lawsuits in Silicon Valley. Engineers alleged a handful of companies entered into secret "no-poach" agreements not to hire their workers, which drove down their wages and restricted their ability to move between jobs. A chunk of evidence in the case consists of emails sent between the late Apple chief Steve Jobs and other Silicon Valley executives like Google chairman Eric Schmidt and cofounder Sergey Brin.

Were the case to go to trial, it might have shed a damaging light on the business practices of some of the most successful technology companies in the world.

Judge Koh had previously rejected a proposed earlier settlement of $324.5 million, calling it too low. The companies increased their offer to $415 million this past January.

Her preliminary approval on Tuesday of the larger settlement is subject to further consideration at a final approval hearing set for July 9.

Intel and Adobe declined to comment on Koh's approval of the settlement. Apple and Google did not immediately respond to comment.

Kelly Dermody, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said via email she was pleased with the approval of the settlement. Robert Van Nest, an attorney for Google, declined to comment.

Some 64,000 workers employed in technical, creative and research and development roles are represented in the class action suit. They have until May 21 to opt out or object to the settlement agreement. Objections will be heard during the July court hearing.

Three other defendants in the case -- Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar -- previously settled with the workers for about $20 million.

If the $415 million settlement is approved, attorneys could take home up to $83 million in fees.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesAppleGoogleCivil lawsuitslegaladobeintelinternetsearch engines

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?