Tech giants accused of colluding to keep wages down

Lawsuit claims big technology firms agreed not to hire each other’s workers

Google is one of a number of tech firms accused

Google is one of a number of tech firms accused


Oracle is being sued over claims that it schemed with Google, Microsoft and other companies to not hire each other’s employees in the latest case accusing big technology firms of using illegal tactics to keep wages down.

The complaint links Oracle to the same alleged misconduct by senior executives at other Silicon Valley companies including Apple and Google at issue in a 2011 lawsuit in federal court in San Jose, California.

In that case, Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe Systems are appealing a judge’s refusal to approve a $324.5 million settlement with 64,000 technical workers. The suit against Oracle, a database and enterprise-software maker, should be joined with the earlier one, before US District Judge Lucy Koh, because a “substantial portion of both cases concerns the same parties and events,” according to the complaint.

“These to cases concern overlapping conspiracies that each grew out of the same unlawful anti-solicitation agreement between Google and others, including Oracle.”

Deborah Hellinger, a spokeswoman for Oracle, declined to comment on the allegations.

Oracle is the only defendant in the case.

The 2011 case against the Silicon Valley technology companies produced a trove of explosive e-mails revealing what Judge Koh concluded was “ample evidence” of an anti-trust conspiracy.

Some of the same e-mails had surfaced in a similar lawsuit brought by the US Justice Department that the companies settled in 2010.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who figured as a central player in the Silicon Valley suit, is also portrayed as a leader of a no-poaching scheme alleged in a separate case filed last month against California-based film companies, in his role as the founder of Pixar studios.

Walt Disney, DreamWorks and and two Sony units were named as defendants in that complaint.