Can my employer make an agreement with other employers in my field not to solicit each others’ employees?

No, allege a group of more than 64,000 Silicon Valley technology workers. Read this NY Times Article.  These employees have brought an anti-trust lawsuit alleging that companies like Apple and Google made agreements not to “poach” each others’ workers.  The effect of these agreements, say the employees, was to drive down wages, since employees were not able to shop around for the best offer they could get for their skills.  The lawsuit has been brought as an anti-trust suit because the practice they allege inhibits competition between the companies for the workers’ valuable skills.

The New York Times has called this practice “white collar wage theft,” as it has driven down the wages of employees outside of the low-wage workers who are generally considered victims of wage theft.  Usually, “wage theft” refers to practices such as taking employees’ tips, making employees in meat packing plants spend unpaid time putting on and taking off protective gear, etc.

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