Ebay Settles Antitrust Case With Justice Department

In agreeing to settle a civil lawsuit brought against it by the Justice Department in San Jose, CA, eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) has agreed to not maintain or enter into new agreements with other companies in which both parties agree to refrain from poaching each others’ employees. The Justice Department filed the lawsuit back in 2012 when it learned that the company had reached an agreement with Intuit restricting the recruitment of employees.

The Justice Department maintained that the agreement reduced competition between the two firms.

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Government statement

“EBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY)’s agreement with Intuit served no purpose but to limit competition between the two firms for employees, distorting the labor market and causing employees to lose opportunities for better jobs and higher pay,” said Bill Baer, the Justice Department’s antitrust chief. The settlement, he said, ensures the company can’t engage in similar conduct in the future.

The company also agreed to settle similar claims by California’s attorney general and will pony up $3.75 million. The financial settlement, according to Ebay, will allow for the compensation “to any potentially affected Californians” who worked at both companies between the years of 2005 and 2012. Ebay said in a statement today that “continues to believe that the policy that prompted this lawsuit was acceptable and legal, and led to no anticompetitive effects in the talent market in which eBay competed.” The company also stated that the behavior that prompted the lawsuit ended years ago and that it would hold itself to the settlement.

Others have settled

EBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) is not alone in having settled with the government over similar government contentions. Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) have all paid settlements and determined that they wouldn’t repeat the practice though they didn’t agree that their behavior reduced competition at their employees’ expense.