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Apple, Google Go On Trial For Wage Fixing On May 27 148

theodp writes: "PandoDaily's Mark Ames reports that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has denied the final attempt by Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe to have the class action lawsuit over hiring collusion practices tossed. The wage fixing trial is slated to begin on May 27. 'It's clearly in the defendants' interests to have this case shut down before more damaging revelations come out,' writes Ames. (Pixar, Intuit and LucasFilm have already settled.) The wage fixing cartel, which allegedly involved dozens of companies and affected one million employees, also reportedly affected innovation. 'One the most interesting misconceptions I've heard about the "Techtopus" conspiracy,' writes Ames of Google's agreement to cancel plans for an engineering center in Paris after Jobs expressed disapproval, 'is that, while these secret deals to fix recruiting were bad (and illegal), they were also needed to protect innovation by keeping teams together while avoiding spiraling costs.' Ames adds, 'In a field as critical and competitive as smartphones, Google's R&D strategy was being dictated, not by the company's board, or by its shareholders, but by a desire not to anger the CEO of a rival company.'"
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Apple, Google Go On Trial For Wage Fixing On May 27

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  • Re:No proof so far (Score:5, Informative)

    by Proudrooster ( 580120 ) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @09:04PM (#46612543) Homepage

    You can also have employees sign non-compete agreements which limits their right to work for a competitor for X years. However, in California (where the movie industry lives) these agreements are NOT LEGAL. [] Because of this, the tech giants had to find another way to limit employee mobility and this was it.

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @10:36PM (#46612875)

    No one at being recruited is at will. These aren't tech support jobs they're design and engineering teams. These folks have very detailed contracts. Your not working a new products without one.

    You're quite wrong. Having worked on secret projects at both Apple and Google, the only thing you get to sign extra above and beyond your original employment agreement, which is primarily a non-disclosure agreement, is layered non-disclosure agreements.

    It's actually quite funny, since they bring you an agreement with a project codename on it that you aren't allowed to discuss under your original agreement, and then after that NDA, you are now allowed to learn the codeword for the project you're going to be working on, and you sign an NDA for that project, too.

    Very, very rarely you will be asked to sign a vendor or partner NDA, but if you're asked to do that, you are generally compensated for the signing, because it means not working in that area for another company for a couple of years, and the compensation is to pay you for foregoing the opportunity.

    FYI, everyone below management director level, including line managers, are "at will", at least in Apple and Google in California, and it's likely the case elsewhere, since some of the work is considered by the Franchise Tax Board to take place in California, if you are managed from California, so California gets to collect income tax on it. The two "Distinguished Engineers" I know at Apple I've discussed it with are also "at will", rather than contract employees.

    I'm not sure about the people at director level or above at Apple, or above directory level at Google, since, frankly, the topic has never come up in casual conversation, and generally people tend not to talk about their compensation anyway, unless you are a very close friend or family member.

    Generally, both companies rely on options maturation (or RSU - Google calls them GSUs and ties them to performance) vesting schedules to act as "golden handcuffs", rather than contracts. You're generally not a high level contract employee without a parachute (silver or golden).

    In case you are wondering, non-competes are also not legal in California, unless the competition occurs as side work during your employment at the company, and generally are not considered legally enforceable in the U.S., unless they continue to pay your salary (plus scaled increases based on past increases, if any were performance related) during the lockout period. You can thank my cousin for this, as he took his non-compete to the supreme court (and yes, they payed him to take the year off at his regular salary to prevent him from going to a competitor).

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun