SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) — Apple
Inc, Google Inc and two other Silicon Valley companies are making
progress toward settling a closely watched lawsuit where tech
workers allege the companies conspired to avoid competing for each
other's employees in order to drive down wages.
At a hearing on Thursday in federal court in San Jose, California,
Google attorney Robert Van Nest said the companies and the
plaintiffs have been consulting daily with a mediator to try to
resolve the dispute, and that they are making progress.
Kelly Dermody, an attorney for the plaintiffs, agreed with the
assessment. Roughly 60,000 tech workers won permission to sue as a
class action. Trial is currently scheduled to begin in May.
The case began in 2011 when five software engineers sued Apple,
Google, Adobe Systems Inc, Intel Corp and others over an alleged
conspiracy to suppress pay by agreeing not to recruit or hire each
These defendants were accused of violating the Sherman Act and
Clayton Act antitrust laws by conspiring to eliminate competition
for labor, depriving workers of job mobility and hundreds of
millions of dollars in compensation.
The case has been closely watched by Silicon Valley, with much of it
built on emails among top executives, including the late Apple Chief
Executive Officer Steve Jobs and former Google Chief Executive
Officer Eric Schmidt.