A woman with a Louis Vuitton-branded shopping bag looks toward the entrance of a LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton branch outlet in Vienna, Austria. (Reuters/Lisi Niesner)
Saks, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and other luxury retailers were accused in a lawsuit of agreeing to not hire sales clerks from each others’ stores in violation of US antitrust law.
The companies conspired to enter into “no-hire agreements” that prohibit them from hiring employees who have worked within six months for rival brands, according to the complaint filed Friday in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.
The three clerks who sued say the practice illegally depresses their earning power by limiting the competition for workers.
One Saks clerk said she learned of the arrangement when she emailed a Louis Vuitton store manager in search of a new job.
“Unfortunately we have an agreement with Saks that we cannot take their employees and have to wait 6 months before hiring,” the manager replied, according to the complaint. “We have strict guidelines we have to follow. Sorry.”
In 2015, Adobe Systems Inc., Apple Inc., Google, and Intel Corp. settled claims over no-hire agreements involving high-tech employees for $415 million. Walt Disney Co., DreamWorks Animation SKG and units of Sony Pictures resolved similar lawsuits over workers at animation studios.
US representatives of New York-based Saks Inc. and Paris-based Kering SA, parent of Gucci America Inc., didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment after regular business hours. A representative of Paris-based LVMH couldn’t be reached.
The case is Giordano v. Saks Inc., 1:20-cv-00833, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
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