Georgia stock watchers may have heard that, in 2011, Silicon Valley engineers filed a class action suit against several companies. The wage and hour complaint alleges that the companies in question colluded to keep wages at a certain level while denying employees the ability to change jobs among the companies included in the lawsuit. The defendants, which include giants such as Apple and Google, filed an appeal to the class being certified by a U.S. District Court Judge.
Recently, the appeal was denied by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. As such, as many as 60,000 employees of various Silicon Valley employers are included in the class action claim. The trial is now currently set for May 27.
The lawsuit alleges that the companies created lists of employees that were not to be contacted by competing recruiters. The plaintiffs claim the creation of these lists, among other things, violates both the Clayton Antitrust Act as well as the Sherman Antitrust Act. A portion of the proposed evidence in the case reportedly involves emails sent back and forth between Steve Jobs, Apple's former CEO, and Eric Schmidt, Google's former CEO. The emails are said to support the contention of the engineers.
If the class action wage and hour complaint is successful, it could result in a monetary award for as much as $9 billion in lost wages. However, just because a class has been certified does not mean that the case has been won. As many Georgia business owners know, it is not over until the court makes a final ruling. The plaintiffs still has the burden of proving the allegations in the lawsuit by a fair preponderance of the evidence before any award of damages could be made.
Source: pcworld.com, Appeals court lets class-action status stand in Silicon Valley collusion case, Zach Miners, Jan. 15, 2014