October 20, 2019

A Crackdown on “No Poach” Agreements

Category: Labor and Employment Law

Author: Matthew T. Hurm, Esq.

It has become more common for employers across the country to work with their competitors to agree to not poach employees from each other. These agreements limit employees’ ability to test their value on the free market and are monopolistic in nature. They are called “no poach” agreements.

The United States Department of Justice, Antitrust Division published a Division Update in April of 2018 entitled, “No More No-Poach: The Antitrust Division Continues to Investigate and Prosecute “No-Poach” and Wage Fixing Agreements.[1] The documents states that the Division is actively pursuing investigations into so-called “no poach” and wage-fixing agreements between employers because when companies agree not to hire or recruit one another’s employees, they are agreeing not to compete for those employees’ labor.

On the heels of federal government enforcement actions and other legislative efforts to stop or curtail the use of “no poach” agreements in the private sector, class action attorneys have caught wind, and private lawsuits challenging “no poach” agreements are on the rise from coast to coast. See, e.g.Deslandes v. McDonald’s USA, LLC(N.D. Ill. 2017); Ion v. Pizza Hut, LLC (E.D. Tex. 2017); Frost v. LG Electronics, Inc. (N.D. Cal. 2018); Butler v. Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC, et al. (S.D. Ill. 2018); Yi v. SK Bakeries, LLC, et al. (W.D. Wash. 2018); Ogden v. Little Caesars Enterprises, Inc., et al.(E.D. Mich. 2018); Michel v. Restaurant Brands Int’l Inc., et al. (S.D. Fla. 2018); Avery v. Albany Shaker Donuts LLC, et al. (S.D.N.Y. 2018); Newbauer v. Jackson Hewitt Tax Services, Inc. (E.D. Vir.); In re: H&R Block Employee Antitrust Litigation (MDL – N.D. Ill.); In re: Railway Industry Employee No-Poach Antitrust Litigation (MDL – W.D. Pa). These lawsuits challenge “no poach” agreements under the Sherman Act and other antitrust statutes.

If you work for an employer that has a “no poach” agreement, it is artificially holding down you wages, limiting your job opportunities, and you should fight it. Contact the Hurm Law Firm for a free consultation. 

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