Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 26th Mar 2014 14:48 UTC

In early March, 2007, as Google was expanding fast and furiously, one of its recruiters from the " Engineering" group made a career-ending mistake: She cold-contacted an Apple engineer by email, violating the secret and illegal non-solicitation compact that her boss, Eric Schmidt, had agreed with Apple's Steve Jobs.

What happened next is just one of many specific examples of how people's lives were impacted by the Techtopus wage-theft cartel that was taken down by the Department of Justice antitrust division, and is currently being litigated in a landmark class action lawsuit.

This story sent shivers down my spine. What a bunch of horrible, unethical scumbags. Sadly, their criminal behaviour won't really have any meaningful consequences. These people reside above the law.

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It is absolutely wrong and illegal
by Sabon on Wed 26th Mar 2014 21:38 UTC
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First it is absolutely wrong and illegal and should be illegal.

1) The employer's side. I paid person X to learn what I want and to help me create it. They shouldn't be able to take that knowledge and go somewhere else and help someone recreate what I created from scratch (or "borrowed" bit and pieces of to create my new product). Therefore competing companies shouldn't be able to hire my worker.

If this is true then that should have been part of the contract that was worked out between the employer and the employee ahead of time and with them both having to sign it. It shouldn't be a hidden agreement between companies.

Yes they paid them to help them create a product. No, company B should not be able to create a competing product that mimics the look and feel of the product to such a degree that people would get confused as to whether product X was from company A or company B or C, D, E or F. But that shouldn't limit the employee from going to work at company B or whatever and create a competing product that doesn't look like the product from company A to such a degree that people can't tell if it is from the same company or not (Samsung, cough, cough).

2) The employee's side. Employees shouldn't be restricted from being able to work wherever they want to as long as the company they want to work at finds their skills and knowledge to their advantage.

For employees that are in a position of holding secrets, it is up to their employer to create a document with a "no competition" clause in it which both the employee and employer (or their personal department) has to both sign. It is then up to the employee or prospective employee to decide whether they want to agree to the contract or not. They can counter the agreement and see if the employer will agree to it or not. If not and nothing can be worked out, then the person does not get employed or does not get the promotion because they refuse to sign it.

All of that is legal. As long as they aren't strong armed against their will to sign it. This has nothing to do with the potential employee feeling they have no place else to go because their skills and knowledge can only be used at one company. That is not the companies problem but the prospective employee's. It is that person's responsibility to make sure they learn skills and knowledge that can be applied to multiple companies and with the hope they can get top dollar by getting companies to fight for them. If they refuse to put out the energy to do that, then that is their fault.

But again, that is totally different than two companies making a back door agreement not to hire each other's employees. That is immoral and illegal. And I don't feel there should be a rich person's prison that is different than a poor person's prison. Prison should be prison and if you don't want to go there, don't do bad things. Don't be evil. Don't be illegal.

Reply Score: 2