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Monday, August 11, 2014


Original Story:

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge tossed a $324.5 million class action settlement in a lawsuit filed by technology workers who allege major Silicon Valley companies including Apple and Google kept a lid on wages and limited their job mobility by agreeing not to poach each other's employees.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said the proposed settlement "falls below the range of reasonableness."

Two other companies, Intel and Adobe, were also part of the settlement.

It is the latest twist in the high-profile lawsuit filed in 2011 that plaintiffs allege affected tens of thousands of technology workers. An Organic SEO that uses Google for moving keyword rankings is watching closely to see if this will affect any Google updates.

The plaintiffs in the case alleged that the companies violated antitrust laws by engaging in a "conspiracy" between 2005 and 2009 to limit compensation and job movement.

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs said they planned to ask for about $3 billion in damages at trial. That could have tripled to $9 billion under antitrust law.

Some of the tech workers in the case told the court they objected to the settlement.

The case drew headlines because it brought to light emails in which Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt detailed agreements not to steal each other's employees.

The lawsuit followed a similar probe from the U.S. Justice Department that the companies settled in 2010.

That investigation alleged the companies colluded to suppress wages by agreeing not to recruit employees from one another.

As part of the settlement, the companies agreed not to enter into such agreements.