Attorney General Shapiro Investigates Impact of No-Poach Agreements on Workers at Fast-Food Franchises

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro has sent a letter to eight national fast food franchisors about “no-poach” agreements in franchise contracts, which harm low-wage workers and limit their ability to get better jobs within the fast-food industry.

Eleven state Attorneys General have requested information and documents from these companies.

The letter says that no-poach provisions make it difficult for workers to improve their earning potential by moving from one job to another or seeking a higher-paying job at another franchise location.

Many workers are unaware they are subject to these no-poach provisions – which limit their ability to move to a better job.

No poach agreements are clauses, often contained in fast-food employment contracts, that prevent workers from switching between employers of the same franchise in order to obtain a better job with a higher salary or improved working conditions.

“The use of ‘no poach’ and ‘no hire’ agreements by national fast-food franchises unfairly exploits working women and men, especially low-wage workers,” said Shapiro.

“Many employees only learn these agreements exist when they are denied the chance to advance to a better job, earn more money or obtain family-friendly schedule options.

“It’s wrong and I’m standing up and fighting for the rights of Pennsylvanians not to be exploited.”

According to the letter, 58 percent of major franchisors have no-poach provisions in their franchise agreements, and the number is even higher, at 80 percent, for fast food franchisors. Worker advocates argue these provisions have led to persistent low wage growth and are anticompetitive.

The letter was sent Monday to Arby’s, Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Little Caesars, Panera Bread, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Wendy’s.

It asks these restaurants to provide documents that include copies of franchise agreements and communications related to no-poach provisions by Aug. 6.

Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to file a complaint at www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a-complaint/.

In addition to Shapiro and Massachusetts Attorney General Healey, Monday’s coalition included Attorneys General from California, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island.

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