AdC fined multinationals for anticompetitive practices in the labor market
Press Release 04/2024
January 25, 2024
The Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) has sanctioned two multinationals in the technology consultancy sector for anticompetitive practices in the labor market between 2014 and 2022.
This is the second case of anticompetitive practices in labor markets that has resulted in sanctions since the AdC first intervened in labor markets in 2020.
The companies cooperated with the AdC, refraining from contesting the AdC's factual imputation and presenting relevant evidence of the existence of the infringement and voluntarily paid the fine by accessing the settlement procedure.
The companies were fined in €1,323,000 and €2,481,000. The fines were reduced as a result of the companies’ cooperation. In addition to adhering to the settlement procedure, one of the companies also adhered to the leniency programme.
The settlement procedure makes it possible to achieve significant procedural gains, while still sanctioning companies that commit competition infringements.
The case, known as PRC 2022/3, is still on-going regarding the remaining companies under investigation.
The anticompetitive practices in the labor market
No-poach agreements consist of agreements whereby companies agree not to hire or make spontaneous offers to employees of the companies with which they have established the agreement.
The practice of no-poach is prohibited under Competition Law, since it limits the autonomy of companies in defining strategic commercial conditions, in this case, the human resources hiring policy, and can occur in any sector of activity.
The practice is also likely to affect workers by reducing their bargaining power and wage levels and depriving them of labor mobility.
In 2021, the AdC published a Report and a Best Practices Guide to prevent these no-poach agreements.