EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS

Words matter! Boss's oral promise can become binding if it's definite enough

10/08/2014
Here’s a warning for supervisors and managers. When transferring an employee to another position, make sure you don’t make promises that create an employment contract. Such promises, under New York state contract law, don’t necessarily have to be in writing. Fortunately, they do have to be specific.

Don't limit your legal options! Beware vague arbitration agreements

09/19/2014
The Court of Appeal of California has held that an employer cannot compel arbitration of a wage claim when the language in the parties’ arbitration agreement excluded wage-and-hour claims.

Draft arbitration agreement to limit litigation

07/23/2014
Using arbitration agreements can save time and money by keeping cases out of the court system. But if the agreement isn’t drafted well, the end result may be more litigation rather than less.

California Supreme Court issues key arbitration decision

07/23/2014
The California Supreme Court has issued a long-awaited decision in an important arbitration case. The decision is generally good news for employers seeking to use class-action arbitration waivers to deter wage-and-hour class actions. It’s less helpful to those attempting to fight off wage-and-hour “representative” actions.

Separation agreements: Use arbitration agreements instead of claims releases?

07/15/2014
Q. We have seen that some companies are requiring their employees to agree to arbitration rather than a release of claims in their separation agreements. Is this an alternative worth exploring?

Want arbitration agreement to stick? Get expert help, especially with translation

06/24/2014
Here’s a warning for employers that want to use arbitration to solve employment-related problems without expensive litigation: Don’t expect to draft the agreement yourself, modify something you find on the Internet or use an English version when employees speak another language, such as Spanish or Viet­­namese.

Specify which state's laws apply to arbitration agreements covering teleworkers

05/23/2014
If you happen to use an arbitration agreement in employment contracts for out-of-state telecommuters, be aware that you may have to specify what state law you want to apply to the contract. Otherwise, the court will likely presume the employee’s state of residence applies.

Want to require an arbitration agreement? That's fine as long as it's fair to employees

04/23/2014
Here’s some good news for employers that want to use arbitration as a way to resolve employment disputes instead of relying on federal or state courts: Imposing a fair arbitration policy on applicants as a condition of employment is fine.

Track worker receipt of electronic handbook

04/03/2014
Want an easy way to show that an employee acknowledged receiving a copy of your arbitration agreement? Include it in the employee handbook. Then have IT track when employees received it.

Ensure arbitration agreement in application isn't one-sided

03/27/2014
Employers that want to use arbitration to avoid protracted legal battles can include arbitration agreements in their applications and require applicants to sign as a hiring condition. That’s provided the agreement isn’t entirely one-sided.

Using day labor? Keep relationship contractual

03/06/2014

If you sometimes need temporary help, you probably turn to companies that hire and manage day laborers. Keep the relationship strictly professional to avoid potential liability as an employer. Instruct supervisors to defer any questions on pay, hours and potential hiring to the temp agency and remind them not to promise anything.

Noncompete buried in benefit plan? Admin sets the terms

02/28/2014
Are some of your benefits—such as bonuses or other merit payments at retirement or departure—contingent on complying with a covenant-not-to-complete? Chances are the benefits plan administrator—not a federal court—will be interpreting the terms.

Noncompete agreements for new and existing employees

02/19/2014
Q. We recently merged with a smaller company, taking on several new sales people. Most of our existing sales staff are long-time, loyal employees, so we haven’t previously used noncompete agreements. However, we’re now reconsidering this. Can we ­require all of our sales staff to sign noncompetes?

Employee Handbooks: Overview

02/10/2014

HR Law 101: Employee handbooks are extremely valuable business tools. But if you're not careful, your handbook could land you in court. In particular, employees are increasingly suing for wrongful discharge, pointing to a handbook they claim guaranteed them employment indefinitely ...

Alternative Dispute Resolution

02/01/2014

HR Law 101: In recent years, various forms of alternative dispute resolution have gained popularity. Mandatory arbitration in particular is attractive to employers because employees who sign arbitration agreements forfeit their right to sue in federal or state court ...

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