Payout for US tech workers in class action

Madeline Ratcliffe
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A US JUDGE has granted final approval to a $415m (£272m) settlement for Silicon Valley workers who complained that top tech companies were conspiring to limit job mobility.

The complaint was filed in 2011, accusing Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe of colluding to avoid poaching each other’s employees by agreeing to fix salaries and keep pay down.

In a ruling on Wednesday, US district judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, found the deal was fair to the thousands of plaintiff workers in the class action.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers had asked for about $81m in fees. However, Koh decided such an award would be an inappropriate “windfall” for the lawyers, and awarded about $40m instead.

Email chains between former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, detailing their plans to prevent top engineers jumping ship, featured heavily in the case.

The four defendants agreed to settle in April last year but Koh rejected an initial $324.5m offer as too low after one of the named plaintiffs objected.