Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg to be deposed in employee antitrust case

The former Google executive is scheduled to give oral testimony in the high-profile "no-poach" case

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is scheduled to join a number of other high-profile tech players to testify in a private antitrust suit brought against seven California-based technology companies by former employees.

Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt, regarded as Google's famed "triumvirate," have already given oral statements as part of the case's proceedings.

The civil suit, filed last year in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleged that Google, Apple, Intel, Pixar, Adobe, Intuit and Lucasfilm collectively entered into "no-poach" agreements to reduce competition between them by restricting their hiring of each other's employees.

Facebook itself is not a defendant in the case. But before she joined Facebook in 2008, Sandberg was vice president of global online sales and operations at Google. The executive has also gathered considerable attention in recent weeks following the publication of her new book, "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead."

Recent depositions, including the March 22 deposition of Google CEO Larry Page and the March 25 deposition of Alex Lintner, president of Intuit's global business division, "confirmed [Sandberg's] relevance to this case," a March 29 court filing said.

Plaintiffs have requested to depose Sandberg on approximately April 23; a document filed early Monday evening confirmed that the court would allow her deposition.

Neither Facebook nor Sandberg have responded, however, to the deposition subpoena served by the plaintiffs, according to court documents. The subpoena has not requested any documents from Sandberg.

Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Google, meanwhile, believes that Sandberg "is unlikely to offer any testimony that would be admissible or lead to admissible evidence," a court filing said.

Depositions are oral statements given under oath that are often taken to examine potential witnesses, which could also be used later in the trial.

During the deposition, lawyers for the plaintiffs and the defendants are expected to ask the executives questions about their knowledge of the so-called "do-not-cold-call" agreements between 2005 and 2007 forming the basis of the case. Under the agreements, the companies' employees were placed in lists with instructions for recruiters not to "cold call" them, the plaintiffs, all software engineers, allege.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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