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I am shocked, shocked.... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjbPi00k_ME). What they did sounds like what was required back in The Day for participation in the original SIRS survey. Don't know how it works there today, but I'm certain the old rules of the game could never meet the onerous DOJ/FTC safe harbor conditions for immunity that you linked above: http://compforce.typepad.com/compensation_force/2007/02/antitrust_regul.html.

The phrase "gentleman's agreement" is terribly antiquated and obviously obsolete for a great number of reasons. Hate to think of all the now-prohibited special understandings that used to be "biz as usual" back then, long before any of the years you cited in your story: Anti-poaching pacts; communal hiring rate agreements; open sharing of payroll details, etc. What were once considered professional courtesies are now actionable illegal offenses. Different world, indeed. Might make a great article! Especially since the statute of limitations would have expired...

Jim,

Yes, me too ... shocked, shocked... Of course the world is full of "special understandings." These get tougher to pull off, however, in the giant goldfish bowl where we all live and work today. Perhaps this will serve as a lesson for any other executives contemplating such understandings - particularly those who make a point of portraying themselves as operating by a higher code of conduct...

Thanks for the comment!

Ann

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About The Author

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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