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DreamWorks Settles Employment Collusion Lawsuit

DreamWorks Animation is settling for $50 million a class-action lawsuit filed by animators alleging the company engaged in illegal hiring practices and kept wages low, according to media reports. The Glendale studio was among a number of entertainment industry businesses named in the 2014 lawsuits filed by three former workers that were later consolidated into a single case. The lawsuit received class action status in May. The DreamWorks settlement must be approved by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who has scheduled a hearing Jan. 19 on the matter in federal court in San Jose. Koh had previously approved settlements reached with defendants Sony Pictures and Blue Sky Studios that totaled $19 million. Burbank entertainment and media giant Walt Disney Co. and its Pixar and LucasFilm divisions remain as defendants in the legal action. The litigation alleges the collusion between the Hollywood studios goes back to 1986, but also that it continued into the late 2000s. The lawsuit contends that under the scheme, studios would notify each other when an employee applied for an open position at their company and would limit counteroffers in such situations. Additionally, permission was needed from one company before another company in the conspiracy could hire one of their employees. Executives from the companies, including those in human resources, met to discuss hiring practices, the lawsuit said. DreamWorks Animation was acquired early this year and folded into a division of Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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