U.S Judge Lucy Koh has approved the final settlement in a lawsuit brought by Silicon tech workers against Apple, Google, and other tech firms for agreeing not to poach each other’s employees.
The case was based largely on emails in which Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, former Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt and some of their rivals detailed plans to avoid poaching each other’s prized engineers.
After original settlement offers were rejected by Judge Koh as being inadequate, a larger offer of $415 million was made, which Judge Koh has approved. Koh had said the amount of the original offer fell “below the range of reasonableness,” when compared to the amount of an earlier employee settlement from Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Intuit.
Koh did deny the $81 million in legal fees requested by the class-action suit’s attorneys, saying the award would be an inappropriate “windfall” for the lawyers. She awarded legal fees of about $40 million instead.
The class-action lawsuit was filed in 2011 by tech workers against Apple, Google, Adobe, and Intel, alleging the companies were involved in anti-poaching agreements, resulting in lower salaries and less opportunities for their employees. According to court documents, up to one million employees had been affected by the agreement between the four companies.