Four major Silicon Valley companies have formally agreed to pay $324.5 million to settle claims brought by employees who accused them of limiting competition by colluding not to poach each other’s talent.
The settlement, between Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe Systems and roughly 64,000 workers, was disclosed in papers filed late Thursday with a federal court in San Jose, California.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has been asked to preliminarily approve the accord at a June 19 hearing, over an objection by one of the four named plaintiffs, Michael Devine, who says the settlement let the companies off too easily.
The payout was originally reported by Reuters but not officially confirmed.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs may seek up to 25 percent of the settlement amount in legal fees.
Filed in 2011, the lawsuit accused Silicon Valley companies of conspiring to limit competition and keep wages down for engineers, programmers and other technical staff.
The case has been closely watched because of the potential $9 billion of damages sought and its occasional embarrassing revelations into how Silicon Valley operates.
Among the communications that became public were pointed emails from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs that at times admonished then-Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt to stop raiding his company.
Thursday’s settlement gives workers only a few thousand dollars each on average.
The companies’ combined profit in their latest fiscal years was about $60 billion, with three-fifths coming from Apple.
Read the full story at reuters.com