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Judge: $324M Settlement In Silicon Valley Tech Worker Case Not Enough 150

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-news-for-the-lawyers dept.
itwbennett writes: "A proposed $324.5 million settlement of claims that Silicon Valley companies (Adobe, Apple, Google, and Intel) suppressed worker wages by agreeing not to hire each others' employees may not be high enough, a judge signaled on Thursday. Judge Lucy Koh didn't say whether she would approve the settlement, but she did say in court that she was worried about whether that amount was fair to the roughly 64,000 technology workers represented in the case. Throughout Thursday's hearing, she questioned not just the amount but the logic behind the settlement as presented by lawyers for both the plaintiffs and the defendants."
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Judge: $324M Settlement In Silicon Valley Tech Worker Case Not Enough

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  • More (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sycodon (149926) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:50AM (#47282075)

    The point of "punitive damages" is to punish the company...duh. But, how do you do that?

    Just taking their money isn't enough, especially in the case of these companies. You can take astronomical amounts and it would be a drop in the bucket to them. What is $400 million to a company with billions in cash?

    What you need to do is hurt them bad enough to affect their stock price. Then everyone takes notice. Board members have their positions threatened, when that happens, executives are fired, etc. THAT'S punishment.

  • Surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hondo77 (324058) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:50AM (#47282081) Homepage
    The proposed settlement mainly benefits the lawyers and not the people damaged. What a surprise.
  • Accurate summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Piata (927858) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:51AM (#47282099)
    She questioned the amount, the logic behind the amount and why the plaintiff's lawyers didn't feel a jury would find the emails a convincing argument for collusion. Not sure how you didn't find the summary accurate. I know it's a rarity on slashdot but this one is pretty spot on.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:54AM (#47282135)

    That's about $5000 per employee, much less than the costs to the businesses otherwise.

    Try $6.5 billion...then they will think twice about this crap.

  • by ChrisKnight (16039) <merlin@ghostwhe[ ]com ['el.' in gap]> on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:58AM (#47282185) Homepage

    The actions of this cabal of companies has had a lasting effect on everyone working the tech sector. The normal cycle of hiring employees out of their existing position with an offer of more money helps to drive the average salary for a position up. Years of refusing do to that caused average salaries to stagnate. When I was offered a position at Apple in 2007 I scoffed at the rate I was offered, and I was told that Apple prided themselves in paying industry median salaries. What they neglected to mention was that they were actively working to keep the industry median down. I never took the position at Apple, and am not eligible in the suit; but that doesn't mean I wasn't affected. Many companies gauge offer salaries and raises against industry salary reports like those generated by Glass Door and other wage survey groups. Because some of the biggest employers in tech were working to keep wages down, and their rates significantly contributed to those salary reports, they effectively kept an entire employment sector's wages low.

    How do you compensate for that? You can't. No court settlement will make up for the damage caused by this.

  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:58AM (#47282189) Journal

    Lucy Koh is still a judge?! My god, our legal system is a shithole.

  • Re:More (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:59AM (#47282201)

    The point of "punitive damages" is to punish the company...duh. But, how do you do that?

    Just taking their money isn't enough, especially in the case of these companies. You can take astronomical amounts and it would be a drop in the bucket to them. What is $400 million to a company with billions in cash?

    What you need to do is hurt them bad enough to affect their stock price. Then everyone takes notice. Board members have their positions threatened, when that happens, executives are fired, etc. THAT'S punishment.

    Round up everyone in the company involved in the decision, freeze their assets, throw them in jail pending their criminal case, hold a trial, and imprison them further upon their inevitable conviction, then liquidate their assets and distribute to the affected parties. Oh wait, that would be justice.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Friday June 20, 2014 @12:13PM (#47282349)

    So that settlement works out to roughly $5000 per worker before lawyer's fees, which are sure to be substantial. Sounds a bit light to me, especially given the amount of cash the relevant companies have in the bank.

  • Re:More (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SydShamino (547793) on Friday June 20, 2014 @01:12PM (#47282905)

    There is nothing that civil law can do that is punitive to the managers. They didn't do anything; the company did things, and they are merely one of the louder of the company's schizophrenic voices. To get at them where it matters (their wallet), you'd have to go after company assets and hope it indirectly affects them as the parent suggests.

    Only criminal law could pierce that veil and go after them directly, and while that can be quite punitive, it's not bloody likely.

  • by RavenLrD20k (311488) on Friday June 20, 2014 @02:52PM (#47283891) Journal

    Them's the breaks. When shit like this starts sending quakes through the portfolios of the general population *MAYBE* it'll be enough to wake up the collective to say "Hey! What the Fuck?!" and break apart some of this complacency iceberg we have going on.

"Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." -- G. B. Stearn

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