Tech companies start talking about hiring

Slaves_ruvumaApple, Google, Intel and Adobe have gone back to the drawing board to come up with a more reasonable deal with tech workers in a high-profile lawsuit over hiring practices in Silicon Valley.

The four were sued for conspiring to avoid poaching each other’s employees. Last month, US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California rejected a proposed $324.5 million settlement in the class action case, saying it was too low, considering what the four actually did.

Both sides have said they had resumed mediation but provided no additional details on the talks. They also asked Koh to set a new trial date.

The employees said that the conspiracy limited their job mobility and ¬†kept a lid on salaries. The case, filed in 2011, has been closely watched because of the possibility of big damages being awarded. It also showed the antics of the likes of Apple’s Steve Jobs, former Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt and some of their rivals.

Koh cited “substantial and compelling evidence” that Jobs “was a, if not the, central figure in the alleged conspiracy”.

Jobs had previous form for setting up conspiracies which helped him and Apple at the expense of workers or customers. He was also named and shamed as the bloke who set up a conspiracy to make sure that customers paid more for ebooks.

Given the strength of the case against the companies, the plaintiffs should have got more money, Koh wrote.