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Bolstered by recent actions by federal and state regulators, plaintiffs lawyers have filed a raft of class actions alleging agreements not to poach employees violate federal antitrust laws. Now, the U.S. Justice Department is weighing in on their cases.

Most of the lawsuits, filed within the past year, challenge so-called “no poach” agreements that companies have with their franchises over employees, particularly in the services and fast-food restaurant industries. They follow 2016 guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice and investigations of many of the same companies by nearly a dozen state attorneys general.

So far, judges have refused to dismiss cases against McDonald’s, Cinnabon and two sandwich shop chains, Jersey Mike’s and Jimmy John’s. And lawyers are looking at more franchise cases in the pipeline, including six class actions on behalf of H&R Block employees.

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Amanda Bronstad

Amanda Bronstad is the ALM staff reporter covering class actions and mass torts nationwide. She writes the email dispatch Critical Mass. She is based in Los Angeles.

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