A former employee of Lucasfilm claims executives from top performing technology companies like Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Adobe, Intel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and Intuit agreed not to hire employees from one another’s businesses; and to put a limit on the salaries of individuals working for them. The lawsuit is seeking class action status, filed in California, and says these companies should have to compensate workers.
The lawsuit alleges that executives from above mentioned companies entered into agreements that would eliminate competition among each company for skilled labor – and as a result, the employees from each of the companies are entitled to compensation.
“My colleagues at Lucasfilm and I applied our skills, knowledge, and creativity to make the company an industry leader,” Hariharan said in a statement issued by his lawyers. “It’s disappointing that, while we were working hard to make terrific products that resulted in enormous profits for Lucasfilm, senior executives of the company cut deals with other premiere high tech companies to eliminate competition and cap pay for skilled employees.”
In 2009, an investigation by the Justice Department was conducted in which about a dozen technology companies were formally requested to provide documentation. A settlement was reached in September of 2010, which resulted in the companies agreeing to stop prohibiting company recruiters from looking for talent among each of the rival tech companies.
The current lawsuit is seeking compensation that tech workers of the companies have lost. An attorney from Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, representing the case, claims the competition among the companies and the collaboration of the companies that limited movement of employees between the different companies cut the potential earnings of employees by 10 to 15%.
The lawsuit does not indicate how much employees from any of the technology companies are being paid, but unofficial data from Glassdoor.com, a salary site that reports salary information received from current and former employees, indicates that Apple and Google software engineers are paid well above the average US salary, and are about the same amount with Apple being reported as $97,627 annually and Google being reported with $97,717.