Attorney General Bonta Joins Multistate Coalition in Filing Brief Supporting Former Saks Employees

Monday, August 7, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Bonta today announced joining a coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief supporting former employees of Saks department stores who were harmed by agreements between Saks and other sellers of luxury brand goods (Brand Defendants) — including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Prada — not to hire former Saks employees. These agreements are commonly referred to as “no-hire agreements” or “no-poach agreements.” The appeal, Giordano v. Saks Inc., involves a proposed nationwide class of workers that would include employees at Saks stores in California and is currently pending in the Second Circuit after the employees lost at the district court. 

“No-hire agreements are anti-worker and anticompetitive. They have no place in the labor market,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Employees who were wronged should know that we have their backs. Employers should remember that we expect everyone to play by the rules. At the California Department of Justice, we have previously challenged the legality of no-hire agreements and have prevailed. The bottom line is that workers should be able to freely transition to a new job if that new job makes sense for them.”

In the amicus brief, the attorneys general underscore that:

  • In their experience, no-hire agreements suppress competition for employees, depress wages, and limit workers’ mobility. For example, in 2014, California announced a $3.75 million settlement with eBay over allegations the company violated state competition laws by making a “no-poach” agreement with Intuit between 2006 and 2009. Moreover, California entered settlements with fast-food franchise companies to prohibit them from continuing to include “no-poach” provisions in their franchise agreements: in 2019 against Arby’s, Dunkin’, Five Guys, and Little Caesars, and in 2020 against Burger King, Popeyes, and Tim Hortons. 
  • The district court erred in concluding that the agreements between Saks and the Brand Defendants were not per se unlawful. Each of the employees involved in this litigation was interested in working for one or more of the Brand Defendants, including because the Brand Defendants often offered higher wages than Saks. 

In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington.

A copy of the amicus brief can be found here.

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