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US Justice Dept. Investigates IT Hiring Practices 223

Zecheus writes "The Wall Street Journal (no paywall on this story) reports that the Justice Department is 'stepping up' an investigation of hiring practices of US technology firms, such as Google, Intel, IBM, and Apple. From the article: 'The inquiry is focused on whether companies, particularly in the technology sector, have agreed not to recruit each other's 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.'"
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US Justice Dept. Investigates IT Hiring Practices

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, 2010 @07:17PM (#31802904)

    I stole one of our contractors employee's last week.

    I think no one should have the right to tell you were you work, but, you shouldn't be allowed leave and take you current employers clients with you over to another firm. if you allow that kind of bullshit, employee's would hold employers to ransom.

    And what's wrong with that? Employers hold employees for ransom by not letting them take clients with them.

    The fact of the matter is, if the employee is able to take his book with him, then the employee should be able to. Because he is the one who is adding the value, not his employer. Rents go to the owner of the scarce resource, and in this scenario, the employee obviously owns the scarce resource (the clients).

  • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @07:36PM (#31803090)

    Most of the people I know at Google don't work there for the money, and unless it was a job in something like MSR there's no way in hell you could turn their heads.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, 2010 @07:41PM (#31803130)

    "You must be subjected to a complete mind-wipe before going to work at one of our potential competitors, because if you use any of the specific expertise you developed while working here, you're screwed."

    Language to that effect would most likely be unenforceable. Companies can't use employment contracts to prevent people from using general industry skills to earn a living, unless perhaps they are willing to take on the person's salary (which happens only for a rare, very senior person pulling in substantial six figures).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, 2010 @07:51PM (#31803222)
    That depends if you have a girlfriend/wife or not.
  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @08:18PM (#31803394) Homepage

    In the last 10 years, Microsoft has had huge amounts of cash in the bank. It would have been easy to simply offer each of the 100 top Google engineers literally double their salary each, just to come work for MS.

    Well, number one it's a huge obvious anti-trust issue. Microsoft is already a convicted monopolist. Google isn't without its own political influences. You do the math.

    The other issue would simply be starting a "employee grab" war. You think Google couldn't try the same thing with Microsoft's employees? The only end result would be both companies would be paying more for employees, with a stalemate as far as talent goes. Neither company employs stupid management, and the moves are obvious enough to see.

    Also you have to understand that money isn't everything, especially above a certain level. Work environment, influence, location, benefits, and rising stock prices all effect people's decisions on where to work.

  • Re:wait i'm confused (Score:4, Informative)

    by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @08:24PM (#31803438) Homepage

    It doesn't take long for shit code to get exposed.

    If only. If you actually have sane people without any conflict of interest looking at the code, you're right. If you only expose the shittyness after the product is delivered and "working", that can take years and tens of millions of dollars. Especially if the project in managed by a consulting firm who's billed out at an hourly rate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, 2010 @09:06PM (#31803708)

    This is bullshit invented by journalists. I bet you can probably trace a single journalist who originated this. I mean:

    • I was hired by Apple while working at Google.
    • Apple posts plenty of job listings to ex-Google mailing lists and forums.
    • Google HR calls incrementing numbers on the Apple campus (evil).
    • I hear from ex-colleagues at Google that Apple is calling up their campus incrementally too.

    I don't know if there's been an agreement in the past, but there definitely isn't one right now.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @09:14PM (#31803774) Journal
    For the first one, Microsoft has a campus in Silicon Valley less than 15 minutes from Google's. So moving wouldn't really be an issue.
  • Re:Here We Go ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Saturday April 10, 2010 @09:16PM (#31803786) Journal

    I'm not kidding about this. Rubinstein retired in March, 2006. Palm got him to join their R&D group the following year, and he didn't become their CEO until 2009.


  • Re:Here We Go ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @10:15PM (#31804140) Homepage Journal
    Also, there is a bill in committee, HR 3149 [govtrack.us] that would ban the practice of credit checks for hiring. Contact your congressperson and tell them you want them to sponsor this and vote for it!
  • Re:Here We Go ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by cruelworld ( 21187 ) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @11:17PM (#31804544)
    It's common practice for companies to hire head hunting firms on retainer just so they won't poach their staff, even if they never use them for head hunting services. It's been this way since the 90's.
  • In Denmark... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11, 2010 @03:36AM (#31805808)

    ...IBM is about to go to national court about this.

    This is isn't just two companies saying "if you won't hire ours, we won't hire yours".
    The directors are forced to sign contracts that requires them to not hire people from IBM.
    So when they quit their positions at IBM, and work for a different company, they're not allowed to hire IBM employees. Even indirectly.
    You would think that since these contracts are illegal, they could just ignore them at a new employee without repercussions, but then they'd have to battle with IBM to get their bonus/wage/whatever. It's not payed out immediately, for obvious, tricky reasons.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982