Entertainment makes strange bedfellows: the Justice Department has forced several local movie studies to end a conspiratorial practice that lawyers say prevented workers from negotiating salaries and advancing their careers.
At issue was an agreement between Pixar and Lucasfilm. The companies maintained an open line of communication on hiring, alerting each other when offering jobs to each others' employees. They also agreed not to make counter-offers to job candidates.
The arrangement was instituted by senior executives, according to the government.
Eventually, the Justice Department intervened, negotiating a settlement with the companies to end the practice. Job seekers will now be able to negotiate higher pay and better positions.
Similar arrangements existed at other firms. Google, Apple, Intel, Adobe, and Intuit all enjoyed anti-competitive agreements until earlier this year. The Justice Department, which called the practice illegal, has now forced them to end the practice for at least five years.
According to Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney, "The agreement between Lucasfilm and Pixar restrained competition for digital animators without any pro-competitive justification and distorted the competitive process."
The two companies have a common point of origin: Pixar was originally a part of Lucasfilm until George Lucas allowed the company to spin itself off.