ILLINOIS (WCIA) -- Attorney General Lisa Madigan is launching an investigation into fast food chains.
She thinks some are practicing hiring policies which hurt workers' wages. She, and ten other
attorneys general, sent a letter to more than a dozen fast food chains to get to the bottom of it.
The companies could be using "no poach" or "no hire" agreements. For example, if someone works at a Burger King franchise, that employee can't be hired by another with a different franchise owner.
Madigan says, the practice is unfair and depressing wages. She's going after nearly a dozen companies she thinks could be engaging in the practice including Arby's, Burger King and even Panera.
A recent Princeton University study shows, over the past two decades, these agreements have spiked nearly 50%.
Illinois has tried to outlaw similar rules. Fast food places here can't stop low wage workers from getting jobs with competitors.
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce says it's open to the investigation and says the rules limiting workers' job choices can be hard to justify. Some business groups still have and argue they face staffing shortages and rising wages so the rules help them keep trained workers.
A Dunkin' Donuts is on the list to be investigated. A spokesperson from the company says they do not practice no poach agreements.
McDonald's, notably not on the list, is in the midst of a lawsuit challenging the same issue.
Ten other states are in on the investigation including Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
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