Facebook COO to Testify in Antitrust Labor Case

     (CN) – Employees accusing leading high-tech companies of antitrust violations can depose Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, a federal judge ruled.
     In the class action, which was removed to U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., five named individuals claimed that they were harmed by a poaching ban enacted to maintain stable internal salary structures at Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Disney Pixar.
     These companies allegedly agreed not to recruit one another’s employees in CEO-to-CEO emails, and “conspired to suppress, and actually did suppress, employee compensation to artificially low levels” from 2005 to 2009.
     Facebook and Sandberg are not defendants in the lawsuit.
     Sandberg, who began her career as an economist at the World Bank, is a former vice president of global online sales and operations at Google and served as chief of staff for the U.S. Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton. Facebook made her its chief operating officer in 2008, and she became the company’s first female director in 2012. Sandberg is also currently a director of Walt Disney. Her book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” is No. 1 on bestseller lists.
     The tech employees aim to depose Sandberg about six documents totaling 13 pages, which Google produced in the last two weeks. Those documents include two spreadsheets relating to compensation, three calendar entries and Sandberg’s employment agreement with Google, according to a March 29 status report.
     Lawyers in the case have already heard the depositions of Google CEO Larry Page, Lucasfilm CEO George Lucas, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Intuit executive Alex Lintner.
     “The parties shall continue to file joint discovery status reports every Friday until all depositions have concluded,” U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh wrote Monday.
     Koh is expected to rule soon as to whether the plaintiffs can represent an all-employee or technical-employee class of about 100,000 or 50,000 members, respectively. The tech companies have fought certification by claiming that employees lack common injury.

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