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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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Employment Contracts

For unemployment purposes, your degree of control determines worker’s status

Under Minnesota unemployment compensation law, individuals aren’t independent contractors just because the company that uses their labor says they are.

Pennsylvania State Supreme Court rules on noncompetes


The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has clarified rules for noncompete agreements entered into after an employee has been hired. It has concluded for the first time that the employer must offer the employee (and the employee must accept) something of value beyond just a mutual promise to make the agreement binding. This has practical consequences for employers adopting or modifying employment agreements.

Use crystal clear language in contracts when defining commissions, bonuses


Do you pay some employees a bonus based on sales or hitting other quotas or targets? Make sure the agreement promising such bonuses is clear and unambiguous. Unclear language can result in you being tied up in years of litigation.

Arbitration agreement: Don’t bury it in handbook; deliver separate document


Do you require employees to direct employment law complaints through the arbitration process rather than a lawsuit? If so, don’t bury your arbitration agreement deep in your handbook or job application. Instead, present workers with a separate document. As this new case shows, California courts are more likely to find a separate agreement to be binding.

Protect against breach-of-contract claims

Precise language in a settlement agreement helped an employer survive a breach-of-contract lawsuit filed by a former employee.

Supreme Court tackles arbitration agreements

One of the first cases the U.S. Supreme Court heard in its 2015-2016 term could have important implications for employers that require arbitration to settle workplace disputes.

Confidential customer lists may be trade secrets even if the names are available elsewhere

Good news if you need to protect your customer lists from competitors: You can require employees to sign confidentiality agreements to block taking customer lists to the next job even if it’s theoretically possible for the competitor or someone else to put together the same information from other, publicly available sources.

Craft noncompete agreements to protect your business interests


Employers often require key employees to sign noncompete agreements ensuring that the employee will not use information or customer contacts gained during the course of employment to benefit a competitor. In return, the employer offers the employee “consideration”—maybe extra pay or, more commonly, access to the protected information, which enables the employee to succeed on the job. Each state has a unique set of laws governing noncompete agreements.

Texas court issues injunction preventing customer poaching

A federal court in Texas has issued an injunction preventing a former salesperson for a plastics company from soliciting customers on behalf of his new employer. The competitor had hired the employee despite a nondisclosure and nonsolicitation agreement he had signed.

Federal court edits noncompete pact

A federal court in Minnesota has invoked Texas law to rewrite a noncompete agreement that it decided was too broad.