Six US tech cos settle charges over antitrust hiring practices

Six US tech cos settle charges over antitrust hiring practices


Walt Disney group firm Pixar Inc and Intuit Inc are the two other entities that have settled the charges.These six companies had agreed among them that each other's employees would not be recruited under "no solicitation" agreements, according to the DoJ complaint.

With the settlement, these companies would scrap no solicitation pacts which would allow hiring of employees from each other.

Announcing the settlement on Friday, DoJ said that such pacts eliminated a significant form of competition to attract highly skilled employees and diminished overall competition.
Such arrangements were detriment to affected employees who were likely to be deprived of competitively important information and access to better job opportunities, it added.
"The agreements between Apple and Google, Apple and Adobe, Apple and Pixar and Google and Intel prevented the companies from directly soliciting each other's employees," according to the DoJ complaint.

Against the backdrop of strong demand for high-skilled employees in the technology sector, many companies look for talent mostly from their competitors.Going by the DoJ, one of the principal means by which high-tech companies recruit these types of employees is to solicit them directly from other firms in a process referred to as "cold calling".

The complaint pointed out that such agreements -- that stopped companies from hiring each other's employees -- were formed and actively managed by senior executives of these companies.

Once accepted by the Federal court, the proposed settlement would prohibit these companies from engaging in anti-competitive no solicitation agreements for a period of five years.

"The (no-solicitation) agreements challenged here restrained competition for affected employees without any pro-competitive justification and distorted the competitive process," DOJ's Deputy Assistant Attorney General (Anti-Trust Division) Molly S Boast said.

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