Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.
Could a million engineers in the USA successfully sue for payment of back wages?
The long-running scandal that, four years ago, saw the US DoJ settle a criminal case against Apple, Intel, Google, Adobe, a Intuit and Pixar for forming an anti-poaching agreement, has morphed into a civil action for damages for affected employees.
The defendants in this civil case are growing exponentially and, as the list of defendant companies grows, so the list of potential engineer plaintiffs also grows.
It now seems that Dell, IBM, eBay, Microsoft, Comcast, Clear Channel, Dreamworks and others were also involved in anti-poaching agreements.
Where it was thought, at one time, that the number of engineers affected was 60,000, now people are thinking it could be as much as one million.
Of course everyone assumes that money decides law cases in America and the huge resources of these companies are widely expected to win the day for them in court.
But you never know. There are decent, fair, incorruptible judges and, if one is assigned to the case, and if the trial is properly conducted, then there’s a chance the engineers could win.
After all, ten years back wages for one million engineers represents an enormous payout. The lawyers have everything to play for.
So it may just happen that the US Justice system will enforce on the companies an unexpected way to disburse their vast cash hoards.
That would be a fine and just way to redistribute these unused corporate surpluses.Tags: engineers, google, intuit, US DoJ