- Jiffy Lube has agreed to pay $2 million to settle claims that it prohibited franchise owners from recruiting or hiring each other's workers (Fuentes v. Jiffy Lube International, Inc., No. 2:18-cv-05174 (E.D. Pa., July 22, 2022)).
- The 2018 lawsuit argued the alleged agreements suppressed wages for the affected employees. “[F]ranchisees were able to pay employees below-market wages without worrying that they would seek employment at another Jiffy Lube franchise with more attractive working conditions,” the settlement agreement said.
- According to the proposed agreement, 1,250 hourly workers in the Philadelphia; Camden, New Jersey; and Wilmington, Delaware, areas will share the monetary award. Jiffy Lube denied wrongdoing, according to the agreement, and a company spokesperson said the employer does not comment on legal matters.
HR pros must understand how antitrust laws apply to their duties, attorneys have said.
The U.S. Department of Justice published antitrust guidance for human resource professionals in 2016 detailing those prohibitions. It also cautioned that violations can involve criminal prosecution, leading to prison sentences. The agency filed its first such criminal charge last year.
Among other things, federal law generally prohibits agreements between competitors that limit wages, recruiting or hiring. This means that anytime HR pros at different companies exchange information related to employees’ terms and conditions of employment, benefits or wages, it may create antitrust concerns, a management-side employment law attorney recently told HR Dive. To avoid such issues, employers should have strong antitrust policies in place, he recommended.