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November 19, 2012

US sues eBay over alleged hiring collusion with Intuit

In 2007, eBay's recruiting personnel were advised not to consider applications from Intuit and to throw away such resumes

By CBR Staff Writer

The US Justice Department has sued online retailer eBay over alleged breach of antitrust laws for its agreement not to recruit software make Intuit’s employees, in a bid to keep salaries restrained.

The authorities, in their lawsuit filed at the US District Court in the Northern District of California, allege that the earlier eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and Intuit founder Scott Cook have agreed to the plan that deprived the employee of access to better job opportunities and salaries.

The filing also reveals that both the firms were closely involved in forming, monitoring and enforcing the anticompetitive agreement.

The US Department of Justice Antitrust Division Assistant Attorney General in charge Joseph Wayland said eBay’s agreement with Intuit hurt employees by lowering the salaries and benefits they might have received and deprived them of better job opportunities at the other company.

"The Antitrust Division has consistently taken the position that these kinds of agreements are per se unlawful under the antitrust laws," Wayland said.

According to the complaint, during the 2006 until 2009, both firms signed an agreement that that constrained their ability to recruit employees from the other company, and for some period of time even restricted at least eBay from hiring any employees at Intuit.

Further, in 2007, eBay’s recruiting personnel were advised not to consider applications from Intuit and to throw away such resumes, the authorities said.

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In the earlier case during 2010, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division filed suit against six firms including Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit and Pixar over a chain of bilateral agreements not to seek each other’s employees.

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