US: DOJ brings first ‘No-Poach’ prosecution

Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced the first of a number of anticipated no-poach enforcement actions, reported JDSupra.

The DOJ’s Antitrust Division announced its first challenge to a “no-poaching” agreement, where companies agree not to recruit or hire each other’s employees, under the Trump Administration. The settlement that the Antitrust Division reached with the offending companies is noteworthy because the Division opted to treat the companies’ no-poaching agreement as a civil antitrust violation even though the Division’s guidelines for human resource professionals, which were issued toward the end of the Obama Administration, and recent remarks by its senior leadership team indicated that such agreements would be treated as criminal violations.

A careful review of this settlement and the Antitrust Division’s accompanying press release indicates that there is a significant likelihood that no-poaching and wage-fixing agreements that were entered into or that continued after the Antitrust Division issued its guidelines for human resource professionals will be prosecuted as criminal violations, JDSupra reported. Moreover, in announcing this settlement, the Antitrust Division made clear that vigorous enforcement in the employment area will continue to be one of its top priorities.

As noted, Mr. Delrahim stated that there were a number of these investigations ongoing, and in the News Release said that this Complaint was “part of a broader investigation by the Antitrust Division into naked agreements not to compete for employees.”

Full Content: JD Supra

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