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Silicon Valley Companies Agree to Pay $415 Million to Settle "No Poaching" Suit

The suit alleged that the tech giants kept a lid on salaries and reduced job mobility by agreeing not to recruit one another's employees.

Reuters / Brendan McDermid

Four Silicon Valley companies have agreed to pay $415 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by technology workers who accused the firms of conspiring to avoid poaching one another’s employees.

The settlement offer, disclosed in a filing Thursday and still requiring court approval, is $90.5 million more than an earlier proposal that had been rejected last year by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif.

The suit, filed in 2011, alleged that some of the region’s biggest and best-known employers — Apple, Google, Adobe Systems and Intel — kept a lid on salaries and reduced job mobility by agreeing not to recruit one another’s employees.

Three other companies that were originally named in the complaint — Lucasfilm, Pixar and Intuit — opted to settle in 2013 for $20 million.

The case was one that attracted a great deal of scrutiny, in part because it featured private correspondence of technology icons including the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who in one 2007 email exchange with Google’s Eric Schmidt called on the search giant to stop recruiting a prized Apple engineer.

Schmidt was on Apple’s board at the time.

Current and former workers who worked for these companies from 2005 to 2009 would be eligible for compensation under the settlement.

Google and Intel did not respond to requests seeking comment, and Apple and Adobe declined. In the filing, the firms expressly deny any wrongdoing.

Update: Intel provided this comment: “We don’t believe we violated any law, nor do we owe the plaintiffs. We agreed to settle to avoid the risks and distractions of litigation.”

This article originally appeared on

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