Silicon Valley news headlines are full of a wage-fixing and anti-poaching agreement that was used by big names such as Google, Apple, and a few more. According to Bloomberg news in “Evidence of Alleged Apple-Google No-Poaching Deal Triggers More Lawsuits,” all of these companies agreed to not “steal” employees from each other and there was even a no-call list to prevent solicitation.
What is startling is that this scandal crossed over into other industries, including animation. Bloomberg created the chart below to connect the dots between the companies:
Given the close ties between Sony Pictures, ImageMover, Walt Disney, DreamWorks, LucasFilm, Google, and Apple, along with the facts presented in the article, it’s not surprising how widespread the scandal ventured.
What is interesting is in this comment:
“Pixar President Edwin Catmull acknowledged the use of such agreements when he was questioned by lawyers for thousands of employees who sued his company, along with Apple, Google and four others, in 2011. An unapologetic Catmull said he was trying to help the industry survive by stopping hiring raids, remarks that triggered a trio of complaints in the last three months against animation studios in California.”
The litigation follows on the heels of his popular management book, Creativity Inc., which explains Pixar’s approach to employee relationships and how it led to the studio’s success. To many, Catmull’s response is contrary to principles outlined in Creativity, Inc.
“We have avoided wars up in Northern California because all of the companies up here — Pixar, ILM, DreamWorks, and a couple of small places — have conscientiously avoided raiding each other,” Catmull wrote…
Asked about the e-mail during his January 2013 deposition, Catmull said he saw it as his duty to insulate Northern California film companies from salary bidding wars that drive costs up, move the animation jobs overseas, and destroy the U.S. industry.
“Like somehow we’re hurting some employees? We’re not,” Catmull said. “While I have responsibility for the payroll, I have responsibility for the long term also,” Catmull said. “I don’t apologize for this. This was bad stuff.”
Apparently this scandal goes back to the 1980s when George Lucas sold the studio that would be Pixar to Steve Jobs. The case arose again in the 2010s, but has been operating silently. Many of the attorneys on the case are astounded that now the case is receiving the attention, when it happened years ago.
The even bigger question is how long will it be in court?
Do you think an agreement to not steal employees from other companies is legal?