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| 1 minute read

What's competition law got to do with employment law?

Anyone reading the recent report that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating possible breaches of competition law in relation to the use of freelancers by media companies may wonder what competition law has got to do with employment law.

I wouldn't be tempted to answer that one, any more than I would like to explain how last year the European Commission came to adopt guidelines on the application of EU competition law to collective agreements regarding the working conditions of self-employed people. Apparently, solo self-employed people in Member States are not considered ‘undertakings’ and so will not be in breach of rules on price-fixing between undertakings if they negotiate collectively on terms and conditions.

Competition law feels like alien territory to most employment lawyers. We are not used to thinking that someone in HR could be in breach of competition law when carrying out a salary benchmarking exercise, or that a reciprocal agreement with a competitor not to poach staff could end up being investigated by the CMA. But these things happen.

Partner Paolo Palmigiano has produced an excellent guide on the overlap between competition and labour law, highlighting some of the hidden areas of risk. For access to the guide, please contact: 


Britain’s antitrust watchdog has opened an investigation into potential breaches of competition law involved in the production and broadcasting of television content. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it is probing at least seven suspected companies, including the BBC and ITV, on their purchase of freelance services and the employment of staff who produce UK television content.


competition eu & trade, employment pensions & mobility