Judge rules against McDonald's employees in court ruling upholding a no-poaching policy of the fast-food giant

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A federal judge in Illinois ruled against McDonald's employees today, upholding McDonald's no-poaching policy.

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McDonald's on Washington Ave in Houston, TXPhoto Credit: houstonstringer.com

The case, started back in 2017 when Leinani Deslandes filed a class-action lawsuit against McDonald's claiming that she lost out on higher wages when another McDonald's franchise offered her a job but she was restricted by the fast-food giant from doing so because of a no-poaching policy. According to the Summary Judgment, each franchisee signed a franchise agreement that reads:

"Franchisee shall not employ or seek to employ any person who is at the time employed by McDonald’s, any of its subsidiaries, or by any person who is at the time operating a McDonald’s restaurant or otherwise induce, directly or indirectly, such person to leave such employment. This paragraph [] shall not be violated if such person has left the employ of any of the foregoing parties for a period in excess of six (6) months."

Because of this policy, Deslandes was not able to be hired and decided to file a lawsuit under the Sherman Antitrust Act

The judge, U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso denied the request for a class-action lawsuit stating that each plaintiff would have to prove that the no-poaching policy was anticompetitive in their respective markets.

Alonso also pointed out in his ruling that there were between 42 and 50 fast-food restaurants within 3 miles of Deslandes' home, meaning she could have looked for better employment elsewhere with higher wages, even if it was not a McDonald's.

The case is Deslandes v. McDonald's USA LLC, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, No. 1:17-cv-04857.

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