Mar 29, 2023
Title Insurer Crafted Illegal ‘No Poach’ Hiring Deals, New York AG Says
(Bloomberg) -- Fidelity National Financial Inc., the biggest US title insurer, illegally colluded with competitors by agreeing to not solicit, recruit or hire each other’s employees, the New York attorney general said.
The company agreed to pay $3.5 million to resolve a state investigation into its use of “no poach” deals, which effectively reduced competition, wages and opportunities for workers, New York Attorney General Letitia James said Wednesday in a statement.
“New Yorkers deserve fair pay for their hard work and experience in their fields, and their career growth should never be threatened by a company’s desire to save money on wages,” James said.
The settlement is the latest effort by James to end the use of no-poach agreements. The state struck similar deals in 2022 with AmTrust Title Insurance Co., First Nationwide Title Agency and Stewart Title Guaranty Corp. A multi-state accord in 2019 ended the use of no-poach deals by fast-food franchisers Dunkin’, Arby’s, Five Guys and Little Caesars.
The Fidelity probe uncovered both verbal and written no-poach deals, some of which “are intended to last even after the term of any business relationship has ended,” according to a copy of the agreement. In addition to documents handed over by Fidelity, the attorney general’s office analyzed market data and got information and testimony from other companies in the industry.
The deal was signed by Fidelity’s chief legal officer, Peter Sadowski.
Lisa Foxworthy-Parker, a representative of the Jacksonville, Florida-based company, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Under the deal, Fidelity agreed that for the next decade it will quickly alert the attorney general if it discovers any internal violations of the settlement or becomes aware of any competitors entering into no-poach agreements.
Fidelity also agreed to pay New York $1 million for every no-poach agreement that it fails to tell the state about “regardless of whether Fidelity was a participant in the agreement,” according to the document.
The title insurer will also be on the hook for New York’s legal fees if the state is forced to go to court to enforce the settlement.
(Updates with Fidelity’s chief legal officer signing deal)
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