A retail display manufacturer in Illinois agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit accusing it of engaging in wage-fixing and no-poach conspiracies with three staffing firms, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced Nov. 20.
The no-poaching lawsuit was first filed in July 2020 against staffing client Colony Display LLC and staffing providers Elite Staffing Inc., Metro Staff Inc. and Midway Staffing Inc. An effort to dismiss the case was rejected by a judge in June 2021.
The suit alleged the staffing firms — which competed to provide light industrial workers at Colony’s Elgin and St. Charles, Illinois facilities — agreed not to solicit or hire one another’s employees and to fix the wages paid to them. Colony Display allegedly facilitated the unlawful agreements by acting as an intermediary between the parties to communicate about the agreement and assist in enforcing the no-poach agreement.
The lawsuit further alleged that the staffing firms eliminated competition and harmed temporary workers in Illinois by interfering with their ability to seek better employment opportunities, wages and benefits.
“Illinois workers ultimately pay when employers collude to keep wages down. I am pleased that this settlement includes compensation for workers who were impacted by unlawful activity that limited wages and job opportunities,” Raoul said. “We will not tolerate companies collaborating to take advantage of workers, and my office is committed to enforcing laws that protect workers’ rights and access to fair wages and opportunities to better provide for their families.”
SIA has reached out to Colony Display for comment.
The $1.2 million Colony agreed to pay will be used primarily to compensate temporary workers impacted by the company’s alleged role in no-poach and wage-fixing agreements. Colony also agreed to refrain from conduct that would violate antitrust law and to implement measures designed to ensure that affected workers can return to work at Colony and its staffing providers. The settlement also requires Colony to implement compliance measures and prohibits the company from engaging in certain conduct that would violate antitrust laws.
The claims against the three staffing agencies are pending with the Illinois Supreme Court; oral arguments on the appeal were heard Nov. 15.