Some of the biggest names in the technology industry are being sued in a class action case which claims that they entered into an agreement not to poach each other's staff and to keep wages low.
Siddharth Hariharan, a former software engineer at Lucasfilm, has brought the class action case, which alleges that Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar co-operated on ‘No Solicitation' agreements.
These agreements state that management will not hire key staff from competitors, and will contact each other about new hires and limit the pay awards.
"Competition in the labour market results in better salaries, enhanced career opportunities for employees, and better products for consumers," said Joseph Saveri, a lawyer with Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, who filed the case.
"We estimate that, because of reduced competition for their services, compensation for skilled employees at Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar was reduced by 10 to 15 per cent.
"These companies owe their tremendous successes to the sacrifices and hard work of their employees, and must take responsibility for their misconduct."
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) investigated the claims when they first came to light two years ago, and agreed a settlement for anti-competitive practices.
Google has since admitted that the practice had been going on since 2005 and stopped only after the DoJ investigation.
The settlement was reached with the companies involved and the government, but no attempt was made to recompense employees who may have lost out.
The class action case is designed to redress this, and Saveri has asked staff who may have been affected to contact the law firm about joining the case.
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