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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg may testify in antitrust suit

A former Google executive, Sandberg may be questioned as part of an antitrust case against Google, Apple, and other tech players.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is scheduled to be questioned in a lawsuit charging several technology companies for allegedly agreeing not to poach employees from each other, Bloomberg said today.

The case is part of a civil suit filed in 2011 by five workers against Google, Intuit, Apple, Intel, Adobe, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, claiming that they tried to keep down wages through non-poaching agreements.

Six of the companies involved settled a Justice Department complaint in 2010. The civil suit was launched in 2011 and named Lucasfilm as a seventh defendant.

Neither Facebook nor Sandberg are named as defendants in the suit. What's the connection between Sandberg and the case?

Before joining Facebook as COO in 2008, Sandberg was the vice president of global sales and operations at Google. In a filing on March 29, Google offered six documents to the court, according to Bloomberg, one of which was Sandberg's employment agreement with the company.

The case is being heard by U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, Calif.

At this point, Koh is still trying to decide if the complaint should proceed as a class action lawsuit. Such a move would involve many more employees than just the five workers and could lead to significant damages if the companies lose the suit.

CNET contacted Facebook for comment and will update the story when the company responds.

Responding to a request for comment in January, a Google representative told CNET at the time that the company has "always actively and aggressively recruited top talent."