The following is a media release by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
BOSTON – n a multi-state settlement with a coalition of 14 attorneys general led by Attorney General Maura Healey, four national fast food franchisors will cease using “no-poach” agreements, which restrict the right of fast food workers to move from one franchise to another within the same restaurant chain.
The agreements with Dunkin’, Arby’s, Five Guys, and Little Caesars settle an investigation announced by the states in July 2018 over concerns that no-poach agreements hurt low-wage workers by limiting their ability to secure better paying jobs.
“No-poach agreements make it harder for fast food workers to gain promotions and earn a better living,” said Healey. “This settlement is a major step toward ending the use of no-poach agreements for good.”
Under the terms of the settlements, the franchisors have agreed to stop including no-poach provisions in any of their franchise agreements and to stop enforcing any franchise agreements already in place.
The franchisors have also agreed to amend existing franchise agreements to remove no-poach provisions and to ask their franchisees to post notices in all locations to inform employees of the settlement.
Finally, the franchisors will notify the attorneys general if one of their franchisees tries to restrict any employee from moving to another location under an existing no-poach provision.
The attorneys general began their investigation last July by sending letters to Arby’s, Burger King, Dunkin’, Five Guys, Little Caesars, Panera, Popeyes, and Wendy’s requesting documents, including copies of franchise agreements and communications related to no-poach provisions.
The attorneys general alleged 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, and that many workers are unaware they are subject to these no-poach provisions.
Since the investigation began, Wendy’s confirmed that it never used no-poach provisions in their contracts with franchisees.
Investigations into Burger King, Popeyes, and Panera continue.
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to file a complaint here.
For information about the state’s wage and hour laws, workers may call the Office’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 or go to the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights website www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.
Today’s coalition included state attorneys general from California, District of Columbia, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
This matter is being handled by Division Chief Cyndi Mark, Assistant Attorney General Meryum Khan, Assistant Attorney General Amanda Morejon, and Investigator Kevin Shanahan, all of AG Healey’s Fair Labor Division.