DOJ’s first criminal charges for wage-fixing and no-poach labor agreements: 6 key takeaways

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With increased scrutiny of anticompetitive conduct in labor markets, companies need to adopt proactive compliance efforts to avoid prosecution. The US Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Antitrust Division recently announced its first criminal prosecutions of employee no-poach and wage-fixing agreements between competing employers. These highly anticipated, and legally novel, cases come more than four years after the Antitrust Division first announced its intention to criminally prosecute these labor agreements. Prior to 2016, these types of labor agreements were treated exclusively as civil offenses. These recent prosecutions confirm that the risk landscape has changed, and companies are advised to take note. This Client Alert offers six key takeaways about the Antitrust Division’s enforcement efforts in labor markets and provides compliance advice for companies and individuals to protect themselves from criminal prosecution.