As Silicon Valley tech giants were said to be engaging in an agreement not to recruit each others’ employees, former Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) executive and now Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg refused to play the old boys club game.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Google

2011 lawsuit: case may expand to include Microsoft, Comcast

The issue first came to light in 2011 with a lawsuit filed by Silicon Valley tech employees against Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ:ADBE), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU), Lucasfilm and Pixar. The case could expand to include Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), according to a CNBC report.

Lawsuit claims to have e-mails between Apple’s Steve Jobs and Google’s Eric Schmidt

The suit represents more than 50,000 tech workers and claims to have email exchanges from Steve Jobs and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Eric Schmidt to prove their assertions.

On October 24, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy H. Koh granted plaintiffs’ motion for certification in a class action charging the tech companies conspired from approximately 2005 to 2009 to suppress the pay of technical, creative, and other salaried employees, including by agreeing not to actively recruit each others’ employees.

Violation of antitrust laws?

An 86 page court order said that “based on the extensive documentary evidence, economic theory, data, and expert statistical modeling, Plaintiffs’ methodology demonstrates that common issues are likely to predominate over individual issues.”

If found guilty, the tech titans would have violated anti-trust laws.

Sandberg development

Sandberg has testified she refused to cooperate after being contacted by two senior Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) officials requesting her to fall in line.  Her May 17, 2013, statement was filed in federal court in San Jose, California last Friday.