Retribution

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

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8 Comments

  1. david manners
    March 28, 2014 07:02

    Yes exactly that, DontAgree, when I’ve asked why there are so many old cars around the reply has always been that, as you say, cars last a long time in the dry Californian climate. As to swanky new cars, I’ve noticed there are a lot of them on the forecourts of the second hand car dealers when the Valley goes into recession.

  2. DontAgree
    March 28, 2014 06:22

    David,
    Not sure which part of CA you visit, but here in the parking lots of the regular Si Valley firm it is mostly BMW, Mercedes, big SUV and tiny sports cars and convertibles. Sprinkled in between you can find a minivan or run of the mill Honda/Toyota and also Teslas but the majority is less than 8 years old, definitely not deserving of the ‘knackered’ label.
    Of course if you drive to central valley and in to the mountains the story changes dramatically. And CA is well known for the large amount of vintage cars because due to the lack of rain and snow cars tend to live longer here (people is another story).

  3. david manners
    March 27, 2014 11:08

    I’ve always been a bit surprised at how knackered most of the cars look in California, DontAgree.

  4. DontAgree
    March 27, 2014 10:43

    When the engineers here in Si Valley happen upon a nice chunk of cash … they will spend on a bigger house … and thus the house prices will rise once more.

    That is at least what happened in the past after every successful IPO that made instant millionaires. That and of course more Teslas, Lamborginis, Ferraris and such … to join the hordes of gleaming wheels on the parking lot that once was a Highway …

  5. david manners
    March 25, 2014 18:06

    That, Mike, is shocking.

  6. Mike Bryant
    March 25, 2014 17:23

    Oddly enough no-poaching agreements are generally legal in Europe and I bet many people here never realise they’ve been affected by one.

  7. david manners
    March 25, 2014 10:58

    Couldn’t agree more, Mike, it could be the biggest boost to Californian start-up activity for decades. Incidentally I see, this morning, that Facebook’s COO says she refused a request from Google to join in the no poaching agreement

  8. Mike Bryant
    March 25, 2014 10:47

    And being in California many of those engineers will use the cash to set up their own startup companies and equip them with products from .”Apple, Intel, Google, Adobe, Dell, IBM, eBay, Microsoft, Comcast, Clear Channel, Dreamworks and others”.

    If I was Apple and co I’d just settle now and watch the money flow round, or agree to provide products in kind as part of the settlement :-)

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