On April 3, 2018, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (“DOJ” or “Antitrust Division”) filed an antitrust complaint against Knorr-Bremse AG (“Knorr”) and Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation (“Wabtec”) for agreeing not to “solicit, recruit, hire without prior approval, or otherwise compete for employees” (collectively, “no-poach agreements”). According to the complaint, Knorr and Wabtec are “each other’s top competitors for rail equipment used in freight and passenger rail applications” and also compete with each other to “attract, hire and retain various skilled employees, including rail industry project managers, engineers, sales executives, business unit heads, and corporate officers.”
Written By Gauri Punjabi
Anti-poaching agreements, non-recruitment pacts, no-hire contracts, whatever you want to call them, require a protectable interest to be enforceable in New York. That’s what a Southern District of New York judge in Reed Elsevier Inc. v. TransUnion Holding Company, Inc. held. This case serves as a good reminder that in New York (like in many other states), restrictive covenants, including anti-poaching agreements, may be rendered meaningless without one key element – evidence of a protectable interest.