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Employment Contracts

How do I make a noncompete enforceable?

Q. Can I ask employees who are already with the company to execute noncompete agreements?

Are any noncompetes enforceable in California?

Q. I’m aware that California law generally does not allow employers to use noncompete agreements. Are there any noncompete agreements that California courts will enforce?

When crafting arbitration agreements, consider effect of PAGA on class actions

It’s hard to create binding and en­­forceable arbitration agreements in California. Some courts considering California arbitration agreements have held that actions brought by em­­ployees under the California Private Attor­­ney General Act of 2004 (PAGA) can’t be blocked by arbitration agreements.

Don’t want class-action arbitration? Say so

When claims involve unpaid overtime or misclassification, attorneys representing employees naturally want to handle the case as a class or collective action. Some employers think that if they include an arbitration agreement in their terms and conditions of em­­ploy­­ment, a wage-and-hour claim has to go to arbi­­tra­­tion as an individual claim. That’s not necessarily true.

Ensure that arbitration agreements are clear


Employers may be sold on the advantages of arbitration over litigation and want to give the proc­ess a try. But if they don’t do it just right, chances are they’ll end up spending more time and money. That’s because employees may go to court to challenge an employer’s right to arbitration, adding what amounts to a second lawsuit to the underlying complaint.

Do all noncompetes have to be the same?

Q. We have an employee who is returning to work for us after having worked for a competitor. Nor­mally, we require new employees to agree to a noncompete, with a 15-mile-radius restriction. In this case, we’d like to extend the area to a 30-mile zone around our facility. Can we have a different arrangement with her than the one we have with our other employees?

Get expert help drafting arbitration agreements

Don’t give in to the temptation to save money by writing your own arbitration agreements or using a standard template available from many arbitration services. Instead, have your attorney review your organization’s unique needs and draft a custom agreement.

When executive wants to ease into retirement, can we insist on a ‘retirement contract’?

Q. An executive wants to retire in one year and gradually reduce her schedule until then. Our business needs don’t allow us to have this executive role be part-time on a long-term basis. Can we approve this request on the condition that the executive sign an agreement binding her to retire within one year?

How noncompete agreements can legally protect your interests

Employers often insist that key employees sign noncompete agreements to ensure the employee will not use information or customer contacts gained during the course of employment to benefit a competitor. Several states have recently changed their laws governing noncompetes. In other states, courts have responded to unusual sets of facts to render surprising decisions.

Make note if employee actually requests arbitration

Arbitration agreements with onerous terms are sometimes struck down under California contract law. But in some cases, courts will grant arbitration anyway.