HireCentrix News Updates
Several of the U.S.'s largest technology companies are in advanced talks with the Justice Department to avoid a court battle over whether they colluded to hold down wages by agreeing not to poach each other's employees.
The companies, which include Google Inc., Apple Inc., Intel Corp., Adobe Systems Inc., Intuit Inc. and Walt Disney Co. unit Pixar Animation, are in the final stages of negotiations with the government, according to people familiar with the matter.
The talks are still fluid, these people said, with some companies more willing to settle to avoid an antitrust case than others. If negotiations falter, both sides could be headed for a defining court battle that could help decide the legality of such arrangements throughout the U.S. economy.
Still, there are powerful incentives for both sides to settle the potential civil case before it reaches that stage.
The Justice Department would have to convince a court not just that such accords existed, but that workers had suffered significant harm as a result.
The companies may not want to take a chance in court. If the government wins, it could open the floodgates for private claimants, even a class action by employees. A settlement would allow the Justice Department to halt the practice, without the companies having to admit to any legal violations.
Spokespeople for Google, Apple, Intel, Adobe and Intuit all declined to comment. Pixar had no immediate comment. A Justice Department spokeswoman also declined to comment.
The Justice Department's probe of hiring practices could reach beyond Silicon Valley.
Read more on the Wall Street Journal
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Growth in women's share of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations declined to 27% in 2011from a high of 34% in 1990. While women make up nearly half of the workforce, they were 26% of the STEM workforce in 2011.
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