Human Resources Consulting - Columbia SC

The United Sates Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Release Antitrust Guidelines for Employers and Human Resources Professionals

In 1994, the DOJ brought suit against the Utah Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration for conducting salary surveys and “conspiring to exchange nonpublic prospective and current wage information pertaining to registered nurses.” The suit alleged that the exchange of information between the hospitals caused them to match each other’s wages which kept the pay of the registered nurses artificially low, thus violating the Sherman Antitrust Act.

On October 25, 2016, The DOJ and FTC jointly released a publication entitled “Antitrust Guidance for Human Resources Professionals.” One of the issues focused on in this publication is the exchange between competitors of wage information and the subsequent improper efforts to fix wages. According to the publication, these activities violate federal antitrust laws which may result in criminal prosecution, imprisonment, fines and other penalties being imposed not only on employers, but also on the individuals involved in those data gathering activities such as company owners, managers, supervisors or human resources professionals.

The Antitrust Guidelines point out that not all information exchanges are unlawful. Conducting salary surveys or obtaining salary information may be lawful if it is conducted by an independent or neutral third party who manages the exchange of information, the information is relatively old, the information is aggregated to protect the identity of the participants, and enough sources are aggregated to prevent competitors from linking specific data to a specific organization.

The Guidance cautions company owners, managers, supervisors and human resources professionals to avoid distributing wage surveys which ask companies about current and future salary information as well as discussing specific compensation policies with individuals who may work for competitor companies.

Many human resources practitioners belong to local, state or national professional or other networking organizations such as SHRM. While information sharing can be one of the main reasons that networking is valuable, HR personnel should exercise caution in the types of information that they share which pertains to their own organizations.

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Paul Hilton Human Resources Consulting works with our clients to insure that all required documentation is correct and sufficient to successfully defend against a claim to any unemployment compensation commission.

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Paul Hilton, Human Resources Consulting, LLC
Columbia, South Carolina
Office: (803) 481-9533
Cell: (803) 305-8962 

Paul Hilton, Human Resources Consulting, LLC