October 11, 2016

“Federal Trade Commission Provides Antitrust Guidelines for Human Resource Professionals” by Katherine F. Cser

With these concerns in mind, the Antitrust Division indicated that it will criminally investigate so-called “naked” no-poaching or wage-fixing agreements that are “separate from or not reasonably necessary to a larger legitimate collaboration between the employers.”  Agreements that do not rise to the level of a criminal violation may still expose HR professionals to civil liability under antitrust statutes.  The Guidance extends beyond agreements.  The Antitrust Division advised that there are criminal and civil risks for information sharing, even in the event of a merger or acquisition, concerning employee compensation or terms of employment.

While no industry has been singled out in this most recent guidance, it is likely that the DOJ and FTC will continue their scrutiny of the healthcare and high-tech industries, where educated employees are in high demand.

Employers should consult with an employment attorney to prevent inappropriate discussions or agreements with competing firms.