Conspiracy Trial Underway: Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc Allegedly Conspired to Keep Wages Down of Experienced Employees
By Athena Yenko | April 22, 2014 1:51 PM EST
Technology big-wigs namely Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin and Bill Campbell allegedly conspired to keep wages low of experienced employees through entering a pact of not hiring each others' staff - a scheme designed by the late Jobs.
On May 27, 2014, Silicon Valley's big tech companies - Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc - will face trial in court together in defence to a class-action law suit lodged by more than 64,000 technical employees, CNN Money reports.
If won, the employees, plaintiffs in the trial, who worked with the companies from 2005 and 2009 are entitled to damages amounting to $3 billion.
The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, emphasised that the alleged conspiracy was a grave misconduct.
"Silicon Valley firms and other high-tech companies owe their tremendous successes to the sacrifices and hard work of their employees, and must take responsibility for their misconduct," Mr Cabraser said.
The alleged conspiracy was backed up by internal emails that surface in lieu of the trial.
According to documents submitted in court, a Google recruiter contacted an Apple employee in 2007 - this upset Mr Jobs, and he penned an email to Schmidt, saying that he "would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this."
Google immediately fired the recruiter within an hour after Jobs' email.
Meanwhile, Palm Inc. CEO Ed Colligan, receiving an email of Job's 'invitation' to join the conspiracy, refused to join, upholding that the scheme was "not only wrong" but "likely illegal." Jobs then threatened Colligan to a patent lawsuit if it would insist not to joining the scheme.
"Who should contact Sheryl [or] Mark to get a cease fire? We have to get a truce," an email from Intuit chairman Bill Campbell said.
Meanwhile, a separate report from Globe and Mail had the plaintiffs' life bared after lodging the class suit. Apparently, some of them received a counter lawsuit for falsifying their documents when applying for jobs at present.
Daniel Stover, an employee for Intuit for three years, said that joining the class suit brought a lifetime risk to his career.
"I have taken substantial risks in my own career by stepping forward. I took the risk that other high-technology companies will not hire me or that clients might not want to work with me. That risk will continue throughout my career," Mr Stover wrote in a recent filing.
Michael Devine, who previously worked for Adobe, said that the class suit "has been incredibly stressful to me."
Mr Devine, however has no regrets.
"It makes me angry when the system is gamed. I want to know the people I'm doing business with and working for are playing by the rules. If everyone's cheating, what do we have?"
The class suit was particularly devastating to Brandon Marshall who worked as a programmer for Adobe. He was shot by a deputy in an obscure incident which happened at Santa Clara County sheriff's office. The shooting happened amidst litigations for the class-action lawsuit.
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