Understanding Antitrust Laws And Avoiding Legal Action
Antitrust is a common enough term for most corporate entities. It is an area of law that can be complex and is rife with technical issues and legalities. It has given burst to various schools. In theoretical approaches towards the concepts and application of legal efi8itions of antitrust, the Chicago School has continued to hold is ground and been influential in the winning of many court cases. Yet, for those who do not have a law or economic degree, what is the meaning of antitrust law and how can a corporation avoid being trapped in its tentacles?
What Is Antitrust Law?
Antitrust laws are those applied with the intent of preventing the rise of monopolistic practices by any one company. They are there to encourage and not prohibit open competition among companies. This competition law has been known by a variety of names around the globe, including anti-monopoly law (China and Russia) and trade practices law (Australia and the United Kingdom). It is more commonly referred to in Europe and North America as antitrust law.
The basis of such measures in the United States are two provisions: the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Act. The former addresses such items as price tampering and market monopolization. The latter is intended to prohibit the following actions:
- Price discrimination
- Contract exclusivity
- Mergers and other forms of company unions that will decrease competition substantially or result, eventually and even indirectly, in the creation of a monopoly
Within this larger area, there exists certain subsets. They address how a corporation behaves. In certain cases, the government or its agencies as well as an individual may charge a corporation with anticompetitive conduct. The potential actions that may result in such a charge are wide ranging and are best left in the hands of a lawyers.
Another area where Chicago corporations may find themselves facing charges of antitrust actions falls under the heading of mergers and acquisitions. This tends to apply to vertical rather than horizontal mergers.
How to Safeguard against Antitrust Problems in Chicago
Corporations hire agencies, such as Chicago Compliance and Competition Consultants, to ensure they and their employees do not cross or break any antitrust legislation or laws. If the right agency is hired, the work is pervasive. It flows throughout the entire corporate system, including its culture. The intent is to attack actual and potential problems to make certain all business practices are in compliance with the competition rules and agencies. Accordingly, competition and compliance consultants provide a company with a tailored program that will:
- Assess the situation according to the risk factors
- Identify the specific factors or areas that are at risk
- Prepare employee guidelines that are clear, precise and easy to understand
- Make certain all employees understand the antitrust guidelines and how it is applicable to their employment sector or job
- Make sure everyone is trained in how to recognize behavior, actions and elements that are non-compliant or can result in the laying of antitrust charges against the company
- Teaches employees how to handle themselves if a raid does occur. They will be trained how to conduct themselves, what information or documents are to be handed over, etc.
By turning to an agency such as the antitrust Chicago Compliance and Competition Consultants who are professionals in this field, a corporation can make certain their practices fall well within the guidelines provided by the law.