Parties to a long-running case accusing company defendants of colluding to suppress competition by pledging not to “poach” each other’s employees recently have agreed to settle their claims for a whopping $100 million.

If approved by a federal court judge, the settlement in Nitsch v. DreamWorks Animation, No. 14-cv-04062 (N.D. Cal. motion for prelim. approval filed Jan. 31, 2017), will bring to a close the last in a series of class action lawsuits and federal government enforcement actions filed over the past several years challenging alleged anti-competitive HR practices by some of the nation’s largest tech companies.  According to the plaintiffs’ court complaint, these illegal practices included:

  • Maintaining unwritten “gentlemen’s agreements” not to recruit each other’s employees;
  • Sharing “competitively sensitive compensation information” to establish min-max compensation ranges for certain positions; and
  • Meeting regularly to complete and discuss industry-specific compensation “surveys.”

Indeed, the issue of anti-competitive HR practices has been a significant enough concern to the Justice Department (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prompt these agencies to publish a joint guidance document titled Antitrust Guidance for Human Resources Professionals.

Given these recent high-profile developments, NT Lakis attorneys prepared a “primer” on antitrust principles affecting the workplace generally, and HR recruitment and selection practices in particular.  The guide is designed to serve as a general resource to workplace compliance professionals and is not intended to provide legal advice.  For legal advice dealing with specific situations, employers should consult legal counsel.

Members of the Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC) can read more here.