UnitedHealth Group Subsidiary Indicted Over Alleged No-Poach Accord With Rivals--5th Update
By Brent Kendall
A subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group Inc. has been indicted on
antitrust charges that it maintained yearslong agreements with
rival health-care firms not to recruit each other's senior-level
Surgical Care Affiliates was indicted on two counts in a federal
district court in Texas. The Justice Department hasn't yet
announced the case, but the indictment returned by a grand jury was
posted on the court's docket late Wednesday.
SCA is a leading provider of surgical centers around the U.S.,
with more than 200 facilities. UnitedHealth's Optum health-services
arm acquired the company in 2017.
UnitedHealth didn't immediately respond to requests for
The Justice Department in previous years has brought civil cases
challenging no-poach agreements, especially in the tech sector,
against companies including Apple Inc., Google and Intel Corp. When
businesses agree not to recruit or hire each other's workers, it
robs employees of opportunities, information and the ability to use
competing offers to negotiate better terms, the department has
After years of civil cases, the department had warned that
future antitrust violations involving anticompetitive behavior to
suppress hiring could be prosecuted criminally, and the SCA
indictment is at the forefront of that effort.
Prosecutors alleged that SCA conspired with two other unnamed
companies not to poach each other's top officials. The agreement
with one of the companies lasted more than seven years, prosecutors
The indictment quoted an array of internal communications,
including from a senior human resources official at one of the
unnamed companies instructing recruiters not to approach SCA
Other communications indicated that SCA and the same unnamed
company would only consider job candidates from each other's
companies if those candidates informed their current employer of
their interest in the rival firm.
"Yikes, she is not going to want to do that," one HR official
said of a potential job candidate.
Write to Brent Kendall at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 07, 2021 12:00 ET (17:00 GMT)
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