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Judge rejects US$324.5m settlement of tech wage case

Monday, August 11, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO—A federal judge rejected as too low a US$324.5 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit alleging Google and Apple conspired with several other technology companies to block their top workers from getting better job offers. The ruling by US District Judge Lucy Koh concludes the more than 60,000 high-tech workers represented in the three-year-old lawsuit deserve to be paid more, based on the evidence indicating their earning power was undermined by the collusion among their employers.

Koh estimated that the workers should receive at least US$380 million. Attorneys representing the workers originally were seeking US$3 billion damages before settling for about ten per cent of that amount in a deal reached in April. The settlement would have been paid by Apple, Google Inc, Intel Corp and Adobe Systems Inc. The suit alleged they and three other companies—Intuit Inc, Pixar Animation and Lucasfilm—secretly agreed not to recruit each other’s workers during various junctures from 2005 to 2009.