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Friday, 18 April 2014 10:51

Jobs’ being a bully central plank of anti-trust case

Written by Nick Farrell

Companies should not be allowed to suppress the fact

A US court case on employment of tech staff is probably going to centre on Steve Jobs and his reign of terror over the tech industry. Last week four large technology companies asked the court to limit evidence about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs at an upcoming trial over no-hire agreements in Silicon Valley. They did not want evidence before the jury which showed how nasty Jobs was and how pivotal his attitudes to staff were to them forming a cartel to limit the transfer of staff.

They are worried that if the jury discovered how nasty Jobs was to his staff they will believe the plaintiffs about the illegal employment cartel. Now according to a court document filed late by employees suing the firms has asked the Judge to allow evidence about how much of a bully Jobs was to his staff. The case, which is closely watched in Silicon Valley, is largely built on emails among top executives, including Apple's late chief executive Jobs and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

The employees said material which shown Jobs as a bully had been used in separate antitrust litigation involving Apple over e-books. 

"That the jury might draw conclusions about Jobs' character based on evidence showing the manner in which he pursued the conspiracy at the heart of this case is not grounds to exclude such evidence," they wrote.

In addition to evidence about Jobs' character, the tech companies also asked Koh to prohibit discussion of the government probe at trial. However, on Thursday the plaintiffs argued that the jury should know the reason the companies eliminated their no-hire agreements.

The plaintiffs seek to introduce evidence about the personal wealth of executives and how it could be enhanced by holding down workers' salaries.

Nick Farrell

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