Justice Dept. targets recruiting practices of FX powerhouse

Lucasfilm settled a lawsuit over hiring practices with the Dept. of Justice on Tuesday.

The DoJ filed a complaint calling on the film, toon and FX powerhouse to stop entering into “anticompetitive” agreements with Pixar that the DoJ said unfairly affected digital animators.

The filing included the proposed settlement to end the ongoing suit, pending court approval.

The complaint was part of a larger probe by the DoJ’s antitrust division into tech company employment practices. The department asserts that Lucasfilm and Pixar agreed not to cold-call each other’s employees with job offers, to notify each other when offering an employee a job, and not to counter-offer when such an offer was made.

Pixar is not named as a defendant in the complaint because it agreed under similar conditions to amend its hiring practices.

“The agreement between Lucasfilm and Pixar restrained competition for digital animators without any pro-competitive justification and distorted the competitive process,” said Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney before the settlements.

Tech companies start bidding wars to retain the services of in-demand digital animators. The agreements between Pixar and Lucasfilm were allegedly intended to circumvent that process.

The DoJ settlement (to be in effect five years) prohibits both companies “entering, maintaining or enforcing any agreement that prevents any person from soliciting, cold-calling, recruiting or competing for employees.”

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