On October 27, the DOJ announced that VDA OC LLC, a Nevada healthcare staffing company, pleaded guilty to conspiring with a competitor to allocate nurses and fix the nurses’ wages, thereby undercutting their salaries. VDA and another contract healthcare staffing firm were the primary providers of contract nursing services to the Clark County School District. VDA was sentenced to a criminal fine of $62,000 and restitution in the amount of $72,000 to the victim nurses.
This is the DOJ’s first win in a “no-poach” arrangement case, wherein competitors agree to refrain from hiring (poaching) each other’s employees. Several years ago, the DOJ and FTC published antitrust guidance for HR professionals that describes the pitfall of no-poaching agreements..