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Pennsylvania Attorney General questions no poach agreements

No competition clauses are not limited to employment contracts for lucrative occupations. Lately, fast food workers and franchisees have confronted contracts that limit a worker's ability to seek better employment. The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and attorney generals from other states have sent letters to franchises seeking information and documents concerning these no-poach agreements.

According to the letters, the agreements are comprised of clauses that are often contained in fast food employment contracts or franchise agreements. These have also been referred to as employee non-competition, no solicitation, no hire or no switching clauses.

No poach agreements restrict workers from getting a better job with a different employer within the same franchise that offers higher wages, improved working conditions or family-friendly schedules. The Attorney General claimed that employees are unaware of these clauses until they seek a better job within the franchise. The Attorney General said that 58 percent of major franchises use these clauses in their contracts. However, 80 percent of fast food franchises use these agreements.

The letter was sent to franchises seeking information on whether and how they use these agreements. They were asked to provide copies of agreements and communications concerning no-poach provisions going back to 2015. In addition to Pennsylvania, attorney generals from 10 other states sent letters to franchises.

Workers who are believe they have been prejudiced by no competition terms or those who are negotiating an employment contract should seek legal representation. Obtaining legal advice can help protect their legal and financial interests.

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