What a wonderful world, 60 000 Silicon Valley employees are to receive a share of a $325 million settlement of a class action lawsuit against Apple and Google, Intel and Adobe. The settlement still has to be approved by a federal judge.
Is it because the employees were unfairly dismissed? Discriminated against?
No, it is because the authorities allege that the high-tech companies (and others named in a separate suit) colluded in an “anti-poaching” pact. They agreed not to try to lure each others top-level technology workers.
Note, they did not agree not to hire each others workers if the workers left one employer and applied for a position at another of his or her own accord.
So what is the problem?
In areas or industries with shortages of talent or skilled workers, it does not make sense to encourage an environment of widespread poaching from competitors. That leads to a merry-go-round of people continually hopping from employer to employer, reduced productivity and escalating costs.
Certainly not in the interests of customers and only of benefit to those employees looking for short-term gains, not building long-term careers.
While businesses will often try to entice key players, it has long been the practice in many industries not to embark on widespread poaching.
Now, if the award is finalised, employees on average will receive $4000 for doing absolutely nothing. That cost will be born by the customers and shareholders of those companies.
How many of those workers would have jumped to better paying jobs at one of the other employers in the group if there had been no pact? It is unlikely that it would have been a huge percentage.
As far as I am aware, there is no slave labour in the USA, no one is forced to work for Apple, Google or any other business. If you don’t like your employer’s conditions, policies, hiring practices or pay scales, go and find another job or start your own business.
Don’t hold out your hand and ask the government to make your employer and every one else pay you a bonus for what you think you might have been entitled to.
Sadly, another symptom of the times we live in. Too much interference by big government.