eBay Blocks For Its Employees

Oh the irony. For a company built on channeling people’s competitive spirit, eBay’s policy towards its employees has been less competition friendly.

The US Department of Justice recently sued the tech giant for violating federal anti-trust laws.

According to the suit, eBay and Intuit allegedly engaged in an informal and formal contract from 2006 until 2009 not to hire each others’ key employees.

The complaint notes that the California-based companies directly compete for employees, including specialized computer engineers and scientists. It also contends that by stifling the chance for employees to explore competitive salary or job opportunities, this arrangement directly violates anti-trust laws.

Even though the agreement has apparently lapsed, by filing suit now, the DOJ aims to prevent eBay from enforcing or entering into any similar agreements with other companies.

Lest you fear Intuit escaped unscathed, rest assured that they already faced the DOJ’s wrath.

In September 2010, the DOJ sued 6 high-tech / high-profile companies—Intuit, Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, and Pixar—challenging bilateral arrangements not to solicit each other’s employees. All 6 companies settled with the DOJ by forswearing such no-hire agreements.

In December 2010, the DOJ also sued Lucas film for its non-competition arrangement with Pixar, which resulted in a similar settlement agreement.

At least eBay has a few models for its own settlement agreement.