Disney's Pixar and LucasFilm subsidiaries have agreed to a settlement over their alleged involvement in a Silicon Valley-wide pact to avoid hiring competitors' employees. Reuters reports that a Friday court filing stated that both branches had settled a suit brought by former tech company employees, though no further details were disclosed. The suit, filed in 2011, was brought by five employees who said they had lost out on higher wages and better job opportunities because Pixar, Lucasfilm, Google, Apple, Adobe, Intel, and Intuit had all agreed to avoid hiring each others' workers.
Evidence from the trial suggests that between 2005 and 2007, company executives began creating agreements that shut workers out of jobs unless both companies approved of the hiring. One document said that if a Pixar employee applied to Intel without being recruited, Intel would "contact the CEO of Pixar for approval to hire" before moving forward. Pixar and Lucasfilm (which had not yet been bought by Disney) allegedly agreed not to "get into bidding wars" over employees, an agreement one Pixar manager said had been "honored pretty well here for the last many years."
We don't know what terms Pixar and Lucasfilm agreed to in this settlement, but both may have taken advantage of the fact that Judge Lucy Koh declined to give the workers class-action status back in April, something that lessened their leverage in the case. It's still possible for the employees to apply again and make a better case for a class-action suit, which would then continue against the other companies involved in the case. The lawsuit itself follows a Justice Department antitrust case against the companies, which was settled in 2010.