The suit against Microsoft filed by former employees Deserae Ryan and Trent Rau charges, among other things, that Microsoft and other companies entered into anti-solicitation and restricted hiring agreements without the consent or knowledge of its workers.
Oracle, Microsoft and Ask.com are facing suits alleging that they conspired to restrict hiring of staff. The suits are connected to a memo which names a large number of companies that allegedly had special arrangements with Google to prevent poaching of staff.
The document was filed as an exhibit in another class action suit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division over hiring practices. The tech workers who filed that suit alleged that Google, Apple, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar put each other’s employees off-limits to other companies by introducing measures such as “do-not-cold-call” lists.
Those seven tech companies had earlier settled similar charges in 2010 with the U.S. Department of Justice while admitting no wrongdoing, but agreed not to ban cold calling and enter into any agreements that prevent competition for employees.
Google, Apple, Adobe and Intel appealed in September District Judge Lucy Koh’s rejection of a proposed settlement of US$324.5 million with the tech workers, which she found was too low. Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar had previously settled for about $20 million.
Now it seems that former employees filing lawsuits against Microsoft, Ask.com and Oracle have asked that the cases be assigned to Judge Koh as there were similarities with the case against Google, Apple and others.
The companies might try to say that since the DOJ did not see it fit to prosecute them before 2010 they must have been legal.
Oracle said that it was excluded from all prior litigation filed in this matter because all the parties investigating the issue concluded there was absolutely no evidence that Oracle was involved.
Microsoft said the employees omit the fact that the DOJ looked into the same claims in 2009 and decided there was no reason to pursue a case against the company.