Several months after the COVID-19 crisis ends, a company is being sued in federal court. While the company was on full-time telework during the crisis, its employees communicated with each other, customers, and suppliers not only through company-issued email and cell phones but via social media, using a patchwork collection of text and video messaging

On April 13, 2020, the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued the “Joint Antitrust Statement Regarding COVID-19 and Competition in Labor Markets” (the Joint Statement).[1] The Joint Statement reinforces, and is consistent with, prior statements that collaborative efforts aimed at improving the nation’s ability to combat COVID-19 and to protect the health of the US population will be given substantial latitude under the antitrust laws. But the Agencies also are keen to remind businesses that antitrust enforcement remains a high priority when it comes to collusion or information sharing that may harm workers.[2] The ongoing pandemic is not a justification for coordination on hiring, wages, benefits, layoffs, or other terms and conditions of employment.

Continue Reading US Antitrust Agencies Remind Parties That Collusion in Labor Markets Remains a Top Enforcement Priority

Competition authorities worldwide have responded swiftly to a number of practical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Measures that have been introduced in respect of merger control proceedings include: encouraging parties to delay notification of transactions; eliminating face-to-face meetings; requiring communications and documents to be submitted electronically; and suspending or extending statutory deadlines.

The table

On March 27, 2020, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it would resume granting early terminations (ETs) of merger filings made under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (the HSR Act). The FTC previously said that it would not grant ET while its temporary e-filing program for HSR filings was in effect during the COVID-19 crisis. Whether ET is granted is an important deal-timing consideration; without it, filing parties must wait the entire 30-day waiting period prior to closing their transactions.

Continue Reading Federal Trade Commission Resumes Granting Early Terminations