Illinois’ attorney general has sued a staffing buyer and three providers alleging they took part in an unlawful no-poach and wage fixing scheme.

The staffing firms — Elite Staffing Inc., Metro Staff Inc. and Midway Staffing Inc. — agreed not to solicit or hire one another’s employees, according to the Attorney General’s Office. The client company, Colony Display LLC, allegedly acted as a go-between to communicate the deals and help with enforcement.

At Colony’s request, the staffing firms also agreed to fix the wages paid to temporary employees assigned to the client firm.

The three staffing firms provide light industrial workers at Colony’s facilities in Elgin, Illinois, and St. Charles, Illinois, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The no-poach agreements allegedly began as early as March 2018 when the firms agreed not to recruit or hire temporary workers from one another for placement at the Colony locations, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

If a temporary worker were to try to switch agencies while assigned to Colony, the worker faced being returned to the original agency. Colony allegedly notified the agencies when this occurred.

“No-poach agreements allow employers to take advantage of low-wage workers by trapping them in low-paying jobs and limiting their opportunities for advancement,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said.

Raoul is seeking an injunction to stop the agreements as well as civil penalties and damages.

Colony designs and manufactures customized fixtures, exhibits and displays for home improvement, retail and hospitality businesses. It has between 75 and 100 full-time employees and between 200 and 1,000 temporary workers at any given time, according to the lawsuit.

Metro Staff is based in Elgin, Illinois; Midway Staffing is based in Berwyn, Illinois; and Elite Staffing is based in Chicago.