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How Facebook avoided Google`s fate in talent poaching lawsuit

Reuters | Last Updated: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 05:02

San Francisco: Facebook Inc has emerged as one of the biggest Silicon Valley companies to have resisted rivals` entreaties to stop poaching each other`s employees, according to emails between the No. 1 social network and Google Inc released in court filings.

sheryl sandberg had just been installed as facebook`s chief operating officer when one of her former colleagues from google emailed her, according to the filings unsealed late last week. aggressive recruitment employees heightened tensions between two companies "defcon 2," top executive jonathan rosenberg told in august 2008.

"fix this problem. propose that you will substantially lower rate at which hire people us," an email. "then make sure happens." but deflected rosenberg`s entreaties, saying she thought only limited no-solicitation agreements with it shared board members, not blanket no-hire policies other companies.

plaintiffs say like apple inc , and intel corp drove down wages by agreeing avoid soliciting each other. "i declined time limit or hiring employees," wrote a sworn declaration submitted plaintiffs court.

that response made facebook witness, rather than defendant, massive antitrust lawsuit brought tech workers against largest players silicon valley. representative comment on monday, while spokesman could immediately be reached. past statements, said has always "actively aggressively" recruited talent.

harry first, professor new york university school law who specializes antitrust, monday exchange minimum confirms how relationships initially drove solicit other, then expanded there.

"that does look good jury," first said. however, defendants can also argue refusal shows any alleged conspiracy have impacted broader job market general.

in 2010, google, apple, adobe systems inc, others agreed settlement u.s. justice department probe barred them poach other`s employees. since fighting civil lawsuit. they cannot successfully prove overarching impact wages.

facebook is valley company rejected request curtail its efforts. 2007, co-founder steve jobs threatened file patent palm if company`s didn`t agree refrain poaching employees, correspondence filed court.

however, ceo edward colligan plan was "likely illegal," "intimidated" threat.

"if choose litigation route, we respond our own claims based assets, i don`t think answer," said.
Trial in the hiring class action is scheduled to begin in May.
The civil case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, 11-cv-2509.

First Published: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 05:02
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