As readers of this blog know, no-poach and wage-fixing agreements are a current hot topic for both civil and criminal enforcement by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.

Our colleague, Stuart M. Gerson has authored a helpful summary of recent history and what’s at stake regarding this topic, in an article published in Bloomberg Law: “No-Poaching Agreements, Wage-Fixing & Antitrust Prosecution.”

The following is an excerpt:

Especially in difficult economic times, companies look for stability and predictability. Hence, while intent upon avoiding litigation charging wage fixing or its close cousin, no-poach agreements, experience suggests that there are


Continue Reading No-Poaching Agreements and Wage Fixing: The Antitrust Prosecution Risks

In the past month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has made good on its 2016 threat, contained in its Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals (“Antitrust Guidance”) to bring criminal charges against people or corporations who enter into naked wage-fixing agreements or naked no-poach agreements.   First, as reported here, on December 9, 2020, DOJ obtained an indictment against the president of a staffing company who allegedly violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act by conspiring with competitors to “fix wages” paid to physical therapists (PT) and physical therapist assistants (PTA).  Although not mentioned in the indictment, a related
Continue Reading Less Than a Month After DOJ Brings Its First Wage-Fixing Indictment, DOJ Brings Its First “No-Poach” Indictment

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that a federal grand jury in Texas indicted Neeraj Jindal, the former owner of a physical therapist staffing company, in connection with an illegal wage-fixing conspiracy to depress pay rates for physical therapists (“PTs”) and physical therapist assistants (“PTAs”) who travel to patients’ homes or assisted living facilities in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.  The indictment was something of a landmark for the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), which for years had promised that such criminal prosecutions were forthcoming in connection with its ongoing investigations of illegal no-poach and wage-fixing
Continue Reading With Wage-Fixing Indictment, Department of Justice Initiates Long-Promised Criminal Proceedings

On March 12, 2019, Dunkin’ Donuts, Arby’s, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Little Caesars agreed to stop including “no-poach” clauses in their franchise agreements and no longer to enforce such clauses in existing agreements. A no-poach clause is an agreement between employers not to hire each other’s employees. The franchisors agreed to end this practice following an investigation by a coalition of attorneys general from 14 states into the use of no-poach clauses in fast food franchise agreements.[1] In a press release announcing the settlement, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh explained his concern “that no-poach provisions make it
Continue Reading No-Poach Clauses in Franchise Agreements: Four More Franchisors Agree to Drop Them and the DOJ Weighs In on Class Actions Alleging Antitrust Violations

James P. Flynn
James P. Flynn

In the recent case of United States v. Nosal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit confirmed the applicability of both the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Economic Espionage Act as safeguards against theft of trade secrets by departed former employees.  Importantly, Nosal applied such laws to convict a former employee in a case involving domestic businesses and personnel without any alleged overseas connections.  Because of civil enforcement provisions in the CFAA itself and the recently enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act, Nosal represents a possible guide
Continue Reading Criminal Enforcement Protects Trade Secrets Taken By Departed Employees

In an article published in the December 22, 2010 New York Law Journal (entitled “Nonhire Agreements as Antitrust Violations”), we discuss a complaint and proposed settlement filed in September 2010 by the Department of Justice against several well-known technology companies, which alleges that those companies entered into various bilateral agreements in which they agreed not to actively solicit each other’s highly skilled technical employees, and that those agreements violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1. The DOJ filed a similar suit on December 21, 2010 against another well-known company. Accordingly, companies who have entered or are considering entering into such agreements should review their practices to avoid unwanted attention from governmental authorities.
Continue Reading DOJ Pursues Antitrust Claims Against Companies That Agree With Competitors Not to Recruit One Another’s Employees