Employees sued 14 major oil companies, claiming that the firms swapped employee salary information to hold down pay levels in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. A federal appeals court agreed, calling the companies' action an "unlawful information exchange" and noting that it was troubling that the information was kept private, suggesting collusion. (Todd v. Exxon Corp., 2nd Cir., No. 01-7091, 2001) Such practices aren't always anti-competitive, the court said, but they could be in cases involving very concentrated markets where competition is fierce and antitrust provisions apply.
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