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AG Nessel Files Brief to Protect Workers From Unfair and Anticompetitive Labor Practices
October 24, 2023
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a coalition of 19 attorneys general in an amicus brief urging the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to rule that the “no-poach” provisions used by the tax preparation chain Jackson Hewitt in its franchise agreements are presumptively unlawful. No-poach agreements between companies restrict the rights of workers to move from one job to another. The coalition argues that such agreements violate antitrust laws and harm workers.
“No-poach agreements like the ones used by Jackson Hewitt limit workers' mobility, depress wages, and create inefficiencies in the labor market. They make the labor market less fair for workers.” said Nessel. “I stand firmly with my colleagues in asking the Court to find Jackson Hewitt’s no-poach agreements anti-competitive and inconsistent with the goals of antitrust law.”
The plaintiffs in the proposed class action are former tax preparers who say they were harmed by Jackson Hewitt’s no-poach agreements. Those agreements prohibited corporate-owned and franchise locations from hiring each other’s workers. The multistate coalition argues that these agreements are “naked” horizontal restraints of trade because Jackson Hewitt and its franchisees are direct competitors in the labor market to hire tax preparers. The amicus brief argues that no-poach agreements of this type are recognized as harmful, anticompetitive restraints and, therefore, should be considered presumptively unlawful. Jackson Hewitt is unlikely to demonstrate the no-poach agreement is reasonably necessary due, in part, to the breadth and scope of the restrictions it places on workers.
The brief continues Michigan’s efforts to advocate for workers’ rights and fight unlawful practices in the labor market. AG Nessel has been consistent in her efforts to protect Michigan consumers and workers. She joined a coalition of 23 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief supporting the federal government’s actions to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour for certain federal contractors. In 2022, AG Nessel partnered with a coalition of 16 attorneys general in an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court defending workers’ rights to strike as a legitimate bargaining tactic in the face of unfair labor practices. She also joined a comment letter supporting the National Labor Relations Board’s proposed rule regarding standards for determining whether an entity qualifies as a joint employer and is thereby subject to liability for violations of labor laws. In another effort, AG Nessel joined a bipartisan coalition of 31 other attorneys general in applauding legislative proposals to modernize federal antitrust laws to better protect consumers.
In addition to Michigan and New Jersey, the amicus brief was filed by the Attorneys General of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.