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Attorney General Josh Stein Reaches Settlement with Fast Food Chains to End No-Poach Agreements

For Immediate Release:
Monday, March 2, 2020

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced a multistate settlement with Burger King, Popeye’s, and Tim Horton’s over no-poach agreements, which restrict the right of fast food workers to move from one restaurant chain franchise to another. The three chains, all owned by Restaurant Brands International, will cease using the agreements.

“All workers deserve to earn the full value of their work and earn more when the opportunity is available,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “No-poach agreements are unfair and hurt workers’ ability to improve their financial conditions. I’m pleased with today’s settlement, and I will continue my efforts to protect working people’s rights to make the best decisions for themselves.”

The settlement is the result of a multistate investigation into national fast food franchises 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. 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 such provisions in 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.

The attorneys general began their investigation in July 2018 by sending letters to Arby’s, Burger King, Dunkin’ Brands, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Little Caesars, Panera Bread, Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, 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.

In March 2019, Attorney General Stein and the other attorneys general reached settlements with Dunkin’, Arby’s, Five Guys, Little Caesars, and Panera in which the restaurants agreed to cease using no-poach provisions in their franchise agreements. These franchisors have reported that all franchisees in the settling states amended their franchise agreements to remove the no-poach provisions. In the coming months, states will be visiting stores to ensure notices to employees are properly posted. Wendy’s provided confirmation that it never used no-poach provisions in their contracts with franchisees.

Attorney General Stein is joined in today’s settlement by the Attorneys General of Massachusetts, California, District of Columbia, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

More on Attorney General Stein’s Fight to Protect Workers:

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

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