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Justice Department, eBay settle antitrust suit

Published May 1, 2014 11:30 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington • The Justice Department on Thursday settled a lawsuit against eBay that accused the company of anticompetitive practices in recruiting and hiring skilled employees.

The settlement resolved a 2012 lawsuit that accused eBay of having an agreement with the Intuit software company preventing each firm from recruiting the other's employees. That deal, entered into by top-level executives, was designed to limit competition between the two firms for highly specialized technology employees and denied workers the chance for better, higher-paying job opportunities, the federal government said.

"The behavior was blatant and egregious. And the agreements were fully documented in company electronic communications," Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer, head of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, said in a conference call with reporters.

The settlement, which requires court approval, would bar eBay from entering into or enforcing any agreement that restricts the recruitment or hiring of employees for the next five years. The e-commerce company also reached a separate settlement with the California attorney general's lawsuit, agreeing to pay a $3.75 million sum that includes restitution to Californians who worked at eBay or Intuit since 2005 and were affected by the actions. Intuit is not a defendant in the case because it is already subject to a similar Justice Department consent decree.

The Associated Press