Originally published: April 11, 2010
Last updated: April 11, 2010 - 11:17am
The Justice Department is stepping up its investigation into hiring practices at some of America's biggest companies, including Google, Intel, International Business Machines, Apple, and IAC/InterActive.
The inquiry is focused on whether companies, particularly in the technology sector, have agreed not to recruit each others' employees in ways that violate antitrust law. Specifically, the probe is looking into whether the companies' hiring practices are costing skilled computer engineers and other workers opportunities to change jobs for higher pay or better benefits. After a probe that began more than a year ago, Justice Department investigators have concluded that such agreements do raise significant competitive concerns. But the leadership of the antitrust division hasn't yet decided whether -- or how -- to challenge the hiring practices, these people said. About a dozen companies are meeting with top antitrust officials at the Justice Department this week and next, some to defend their practices and others to provide information.
Antitrust experts say the Justice Department could argue that an agreement between competitors that holds down labor costs is as much a violation of antitrust laws as an agreement to fix prices.
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