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DOJ Says No-Poach Agreements Are Per Se Illegal In Trucker Case

 |  July 18, 2022

Competing employers’ no-poach agreements are inherently illegal, the Justice Department said in a statement of interest filed in a workers’ antitrust lawsuit against CRST International and other trucking companies.

The lawsuit, brought by a group of current and former truckers in 2017 in the US District Court for the Central District of California, alleged that transportation and logistics companies conspired to suppress wages by agreeing not to hire each others’ workers.

These no-hire agreements are per se illegal, the DOJ’s Antitrust Division wrote in its July 15 statement in response to the defendants’ motions for summary judgment.

“Defendants’ argument that courts ‘routinely apply the rule of reason to hiring restrictions’ is wrong and the cases they cite are inapposite,” the DOJ wrote. “Accordingly, the Court should reject Defendants’ attempt to justify the alleged no-hire agreements as deserving anything less than per se treatment.”

The statement of interest is the department’s most recent move in a wave of recent enforcement actions related to no-hire or no-poach agreements. 

The DOJ didn’t take a position on the facts of the case. But it asked the court to analyze the alleged agreements under the per se rule if they are found to exist, instead of weighing whether they also had pro-competitive effects.

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