Enforcers around the globe set their sights on labor markets

Antitrust enforcers across the globe are scrutinizing new theories of antitrust harm in labor markets. Regulators argue that certain conduct, like agreeing to set wages or not to hire a competitor’s employees, violates the antitrust laws in the same way that price fixing and other hardcore cartel conduct violate the antitrust laws in markets for goods and services. While these theories of harm are not entirely new, enforcement has expanded dramatically in recent years and created significant new exposure for companies around the world.

I. The growing scrutiny of labor markets on both sides of the Atlantic 2. The United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is leading the enforcement push with a focus on criminal prosecution and investigations so far covering the healthcare and aerospace engineering sectors. Antitrust enforcers in Europe and other regions are now also launching their own labor market investigations and exploring similar theories of harm. Enforcers in Europe have not yet pursued robust enforcement, but scrutiny of practices that may lead to suppressed wages or decreased worker mobility is on the rise. Increased enforcement is likely on the horizon. 1. United States 3. In the United States, the DOJ is applying traditional theories of harm such as price fixing and market allocation to labor markets.

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Charlotte Colin-Dubuisson, John Eichlin, Alexis Gonzalez, Enforcers around the globe set their sights on labor markets, September 2022, Concurrences N° 3-2022, Art. N° 107332, www.concurrences.com

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