Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Report: Tech firms close to settling no-poach case

Google, Apple, Intel, and other tech giants are trying to settle with the Justice Department over allegations that they colluded to hold down wages.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney

Some of the largest tech companies are reportedly close to settling allegations that they colluded to keep down wages through no-poaching agreements, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Apple, Adobe Systems, Google, Intel, Intuit, and Pixar are reportedly looking to settle the allegations to avoid a courtroom face-off with the Justice Department. The companies have been trying to persuade the government that nonpoaching agreements are not anticompetitive because they help ensure that employees can work on projects with other firms without fear of being stolen away.

The DOJ asserts that such agreements can hurt employees by limiting their ability to find a better job or higher salary. In court, however, the onus would be on the Justice Department to prove that no-poaching agreements not only were purposely arranged but that they had a negative impact on tech workers, the Journal said.

At the same time, if the government were to win such a case, that could leave the companies open to private lawsuits from employees and bar the no-poaching practice totally.

The DOJ began its probe into the hiring practices among major tech players last year. Some companies, such as Microsoft and IBM, have already been cleared.