Ebay sued over non­com­pe­ti­tion agree­ment

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -


The Jus­tice Depart­ment al­leged Fri­day that Meg Whit­man, the for­mer CEO of eBay Inc, was in­ti­mately in­volved in mak­ing an an­ti­com­pet­i­tive agree­ment that pro­hib­ited eBay and In­tuit Inc from hir­ing each other's em­ploy­ees.

In a fed­eral law­suit, the gov­ern­ment said Whit­man and Scott Cook, In­tuit's founder and ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee chair, were in­volved in form­ing, mon­i­tor­ing and en­forc­ing the an­ti­com­pet­i­tive agree­ment. Cal­i­for­nia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ka­mala Har­ris filed a sep­a­rate law­suit un­der state law, which she said con­tains stronger pro­tec­tions against an­ti­com­pet­i­tive prac­tices than fed­eral law.

Cook was a mem­ber of eBay's board of di­rec­tors at the same time he was mak­ing com­plaints about eBay's re­cruit­ing of In­tuit em­ploy­ees.

"EBay's agree­ment with In­tuit hurt em­ploy­ees by low­er­ing the salaries and ben­e­fits they might have re­ceived and de­prived them of bet­ter job op­por­tu­ni­ties at the other com­pany," said act­ing As­sis­tant At­tor­ney Gen­eral Joseph Way­land, who is in charge of the US Jus­tice Depart­ment's an­titrust division. The division "has con­sis­tently taken the po­si­tion that these kinds of agree­ments are per se (on their face) un­law­ful un­der an­titrust laws." The two com­pa­nies com­pete di­rectly for spe­cialised com­puter en­gi­neers and sci­en­tists.

EBay spokesper­son Lara Wyss said the Jus­tice Depart­ment and the Cal­i­for­nia at­tor­ney gen­eral "are tak­ing an overly ag­gres­sive in­ter­pre­ta­tion in their en­force­ment of an­titrust law in this area. EBay will vig­or­ously de­fend it­self." The com­pany said both the fed­eral and state gov­ern­ments "are us­ing the wrong stan­dard in these mat­ters. We com­pete openly for tal­ent in a broad, di­verse global mar­ket across a range of in­dus­tries and pro­fes­sional dis­ci­plines, and eBay's hir­ing prac­tices con­form to the stan­dards that the Depart­ment of Jus­tice has ap­proved in re­solv­ing cases against other com­pa­nies."

The fed­eral law­suit seeks to pre­vent eBay from en­forc­ing the agree­ment and from mak­ing sim­i­lar agree­ments with other com­pa­nies.

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