The US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division will soon announce its first criminal charges involving “no poaching” agreements—agreements to refuse to solicit or hire another company’s employees—after previously announcing in October 2016 that the department would bring such enforcement actions under federal antitrust law.
The head of the US Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, announced on January 19, 2018, that the DOJ will bring its first criminal cases involving alleged “no poaching” agreements in violation of the Sherman Act in the coming months. In particular, Delrahim warned that if such activity “has not been stopped and continued from the time when the DOJ’s [new antipoaching] policy was made” in October 2016, “we’ll treat that [conduct] as criminal.” He added, “I’ve been shocked about how many of these [agreements] there are, but they’re real.”
With his remarks, Delrahim underscored the recent DOJ focus concerning criminal prosecution of naked wage-fixing and no-poaching agreements.
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