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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I don't think a number of large IT companies made a secret deal to keep the receptionist wages low. A receptionist is not very likely to get pouched and (s)he'll easily leave for another company if they pay more and nobody will care, they'll just hire a new one.

Never mind other situations, what's going on here is companies like Apple and Google making an (illegal) agreement not to lure each others employees away. Who would you try to lure away? People with skills. People without skills you can get anywhere. I doubt it's about wages for these companies, they just don't want people working on projects to leave to competitors because it not only delays the project, but gives knowledge to the opposition.

Pouching is often done by luring people with a higher wage or other rewards. So these employees that didn't get pouched due to the agreement lost out on higher wages, but this is a side effect of the main goal of the agreement: to stop people switching sides.

Why would you hire a recruiter to pouch a receptionist, janitor or some administrative clerk? You hire a recruiter to get engineers, technicians, managers, scientists, etc... the rare people with rare and valuable talents, skills and knowledge.

If you want a receptionist, janitor or administrative clerk you just post a job ad in the local media. A number will show up and you pick one.

I get a number of "requests" a year, not because I'm a genius, but because I'm an IT person who are wanted right now. People I know who have more regular jobs get none.

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