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Employment Contracts

California court to decide key arbitration case

07/23/2013
In an important decision on whether employers can limit an employee’s access to an administrative hearing on wage claims, the California Supreme Court has ordered the parties to file supplemental briefs in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. In American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed its long-standing rule that arbitration clauses under the Federal Arbitration Act will be enforced.

Can an offer letter create liability?

07/17/2013
Q. Our company recently terminated a manager who had been with us for less than three months. He just seemed not to be the right fit. Now the former employee is threatening to sue, saying he left a good opportunity to take a job with us, based on our offer and what was said in the hiring process. We did use an offer letter, which stated that employment would be at-will and that the offer letter did not constitute a contract of employment. Do we have cause for concern?

Lab must pay $2.73 million to wrongly fired workers

06/27/2013
A San Francisco jury has awarded $2,729,037 to five former employees of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who alleged wrongful termination and breach of their employment contracts.

If it’s carefully crafted, you can make an arbitration agreement stick

06/27/2013
Good news for employers that want to settle employment-related disputes through arbitration instead of risking a jury trial. The Court of Appeal of California has upheld an arbitration agreement that was presented to all employees when they were hired.

Leave arbitration agreement out of handbook

05/20/2013

Like most employers, your em­­ployee handbook probably in­­cludes a disclaimer informing employees that nothing in the document creates a contract. But what if your handbook also includes a clause that says employee disputes must go to arbitration instead of state or federal court, where a run­­away jury might bankrupt the company? Bad idea.

St. Paul Chamber musicians, management achieve harmony

05/10/2013
After being locked out since Oct. 21, 2012, musicians with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra are prepared to complete a shortened season with a smaller contingent. A tentative agreement ending the lockout cuts the orchestra from 34 members to 28 and lowers the guaranteed minimum salary to $60,000—19% less than the previous contract that expired last September.

Document misconduct probe, just in case of lawsuit

05/09/2013
Sometimes, it’s pretty obvious you need to terminate an employee. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to investigate and document your decision.

Invoke arbitration rights as early as possible

05/01/2013
If an employee has signed an agreement promising to arbitrate employment claims, tell the court right away and ask it to compel arbitration. Otherwise, the court might decide that you waived your right to ask.

Can transportation firm include class-action waivers in arbitration agreement?

04/23/2013
Q. We would like to ask all of our employees to sign arbitration agreements. However, in light of the 2011 U.S. Supreme Court decision in AT&T Mobility v. Conception, we would like these arbitration agreements to contain class-action waivers. How should we handle this process, given that we are in the transportation industry?

Operate in several states? Beware arbitration pacts referencing states other than California

04/23/2013
Employers that do business in several states often have a single employee handbook covering all workers at all locations. If that de­­scribes your organization, be careful about how you handle details like arbitration agreements.