Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with 18 attorneys general, filed an amicus brief on Monday urging the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to support former Jackson Hewitt tax preparers who say they were harmed by no-poach agreements utilized by the nationwide tax preparation chain.
The brief supports the former tax preparers, who are plaintiffs in a proposed class action lawsuit, and argues the no-poach provisions used by Jackson Hewitt in its franchise agreements are presumptively unlawful.
“No poach agreements hold back workers by limiting their ability to seek better employment opportunities,” Raoul said. “I will continue to advocate on behalf of all workers and their families, and I am committed to holding employers accountable for policies that violate workers’ rights.”
In their brief, Raoul and the coalition argue that no-poach agreements, which prohibit corporate-owned and franchise Jackson Hewitt locations from hiring each other’s workers, violate antitrust laws and harm workers. The coalition also argues the practice represents horizontal restraints of trade because Jackson Hewitt and its franchisees are direct competitors in the labor market to hire tax preparers. Raoul and the coalition highlight how these kinds of agreements are recognized as harmful, anticompetitive restraints and, therefore, should be considered presumptively unlawful, restricting the rights of workers to move from one job to another.
Today’s brief is the latest action taken by Raoul and his office’s Workplace Rights and Antitrust Bureaus to protect and advance the employment rights of all Illinois residents, particularly the state’s most vulnerable residents and immigrant populations. The Attorney General’s Workplace Rights Bureau was codified in state statute in 2020 and has since collected more than $2.8 million in owed wages and penalties and entered into 15 settlements and agreements to protect workers from discrimination and stolen wages.
In November of 2022, Raoul led a bipartisan coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief opposing McDonald’s “no-poach” provisions. In the brief, Raoul and the coalition argued that such agreements violated federal antitrust laws and interfered with workers’ ability to seek better employment opportunities, wages and benefits. In a ruling in August, the court determined that the U.S. district court judge who dismissed the lawsuit failed to properly analyze the “no-poach” provisions and called on the judge to reevaluate them.
Attorney General Raoul encourages workers who wish to file a complaint about an employer’s practices to call the Workplace Rights Hotline at 1-844-740-5076 or visit the Attorney General’s website.
Joining Raoul in filing the brief are the attorneys general of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.