U.S. accuses eBay of illegal no-hiring deal with Intuit
The two companies agreed not to poach each other's employees, the agency says in an antitrust lawsuit
IDG News Service - The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit accusing eBay of entering into a "handshake" agreement to not recruit or hire employees of software maker Intuit.
The DOJ, in an antitrust lawsuit filed Friday, seeks to prevent eBay from enforcing the agreement or entering into similar agreements with other companies. The alleged hiring truce was a "naked restraint of trade" that harms tech workers by keeping their salaries down and limiting their employment options, the DOJ said in the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The agreement was enforced at the highest levels of both companies, the DOJ alleged. The deal barred either company from soliciting each other's employees, and, for longer than a year, barred eBay from hiring any employees from Intuit, the agency alleged. Meg Whitman, eBay's former CEO, and Scott Cook, Intuit's founder and executive committee chairman, were involved in creating and enforcing the agreement, the DOJ alleged.
Cook served as a member of eBay's board of directors at the same time he made complaints about eBay's recruiting of Intuit employees, the DOJ alleged. The no-hiring deal began in about 2006 and lasted until 2009 or later, the DOJ said. During 2007, eBay executives told the company's recruiters to not pursue potential applications that came from Intuit and to throw away such resumes, the agency said.
EBay denied the allegations.
"We compete openly for talent in a broad, diverse global market across a range of industries and professional disciplines, and eBay's hiring practices conform to the standards that the Department of Justice has approved in resolving cases against other companies," the company said in a statement. "The DOJ and state attorney general are taking an overly aggressive interpretation in their enforcement of antitrust law in this area. eBay will vigorously defend itself."A
A representative of Intuit didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the antitrust charges.
In September 2010, the DOJ settled similar charges with Intuit, Google, Apple and three other companies. The agency accused several California tech companies of entering into agreements in which they wouldn't poach each other's employees. The eBay case grew out of the same investigation, the agency said.
The DOJ has "constantly taken the position" that these no-hiring agreements are illegal under U.S. antitrust laws, said Joseph Wayland, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the DOJ's Antitrust Division, in a statement.
Intuit and eBay are direct competitors for employees, including specialized computer engineers and scientists, the DOJ said.
The agency did not name Intuit in the new complaint because the company had previously been named in the September 2010 lawsuit and settlement, the DOJ said in a press release. The settlement should prevent Intuit from entering into these types of agreements, the agency said.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is email@example.com.
- SANS: Next-Generation Datacenters = Next-Generation Security This whitepaper takes a look at some new technology that may allow security teams to implement more flexible and capable protection models in...
- SANS: Protecting Virtual Endpoints with McAfee Server Security Suite Essentials SANS review of McAfees Server Security Suite Essentials that address some of the emerging challenges of securing virtual platforms and cloud environments.
- Safeguarding the Next-Generation Data Center Use of virtual and cloud servers has exploded. Unfortunately, security often lags behind. McAfee recommends looking at innovative solutions in order to erect...
- Aberdeen: Securing the Evolving Datacenter This report highlights ways security technologies and services are evolving to provide the visibility and control needed to deploy workloads flexibly in the...
- Is SQL Server AlwaysOn really as powerful? Tips and Tricks from the field With the introduction of AlwaysOn, Windows Clustering Services is now more critical than ever.
- What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience? The Two Top-Rated Online Retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, Share Their Secrets Discuss practical CX tools and service methods such as contact center agents and the use of realtime speech analytics to help contact center... All Legal White Papers | Webcasts