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Apple, Google, Adobe and other tech firms sued for conspiracy to suppress wages

It certainly looks like the tech giants met in secret to decide to keep wages low by not hiring each others' employees away.

Silicon Valley workers may pursue collusion case as group- court | Reuters

Jan 14 (Reuters) - Roughly 60,000 Silicon Valley workers won clearance to pursue a lawsuit accusing Apple Inc, Google Inc and other companies of conspiring to drive down pay by not poaching each other's staff, after a federal appeals court refused to let the defendants appeal a class certification order.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late on Tuesday let stand an order by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California to let the workers sue as a group, and pursue what the defendants said could exceed $9 billion of damages.

The case began in 2011 when five software engineers sued Apple, Google, Adobe Systems Inc, Intel Corp and others over an alleged "overarching conspiracy" to suppress pay by agreeing not to recruit or hire each other's employees.

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.

Class certification can make it easier for plaintiffs to extract larger awards, at lower cost than if they sued individually. It could also add pressure on defendants to settle.