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Employment Contracts

Ensure arbitration agreements are fair, reasonable

If you intend to use arbitration as a way to manage employment discrimination claims and avoid court, make sure the agreement is reasonable. The more one-sided the agreement appears, the more likely a court will rule it unconscionable and unenforceable.

Arbitration agreement should stand on its own, separately from employee handbook

Even if an arbitration agreement is fair and evenhanded enough to meet California standards, employers still have to clear the hurdle of showing that employees knew about the policy and agreed to it. That means making sure that employees actually read the document—or at least sign off that they did or had the opportunity to do so.

Use plain English in your severance agreements


Employers can offer severance payments to older workers they plan to terminate in exchange for a release of age discrimination claims. But the severance agreement must comply with the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act in order to stick. To comply with OWBPA, the agreement must be written clearly and simply enough that the employee can understand what he is signing.

Texas Supreme Court relaxes rules on noncompete agreements

A new Texas Supreme Court ruling on covenants not to compete is good news for employers. The court’s decision in Marsh USA v. Cook moved away from technical questions of contractual enforceability and emphasized the core question of whether the scope of such covenants is reasonable.

Public employees’ contracts don’t provide ‘property interest’

Texas public employees who work under a contract don’t have a property interest in that job once the contract expires. That means they can’t sue for deprivation of property.

Choose the best approach to protect your trade secrets

Every organization wants to safeguard trade secrets and proprietary information. It’s your responsibility to make sure employees know that you expect them to do their part by not divulging your intellectual capital. It’s also important to make sure employees don’t take trade secrets with them if they go to work for a competitor.

Employers can ask jury to decide when collective bargaining agreement was ratified

A case that has made it up to the U.S. Supreme Court and back down to the trial court is now making its way up the legal ladder again. The 9th Circuit has ­issued a new decision, ruling that an em­­ployer that challenges a union’s claim that employees have ratified a collective bargaining agreement can make their case to a jury.

Considering asking for court review of arbitration decisions

Think every arbitration decision is final? Think again. Arbi­tration agreements can allow a court to review the decision, as long as both parties agreed.

How to avoid ‘at-will’ legal limbo: Have attorney prepare employment contracts


Here’s a case that shows you can’t have it both ways. A Texas appeals court has concluded that an employer can’t enforce an employment contract against an employee when that contract specifies that the employee remains an at-will employee.

Violating your e-policies can be a federal crime


If you’re worried that an employee or ex-employee will break into your computer network and damage the company, a new court ruling gives you more teeth to enforce your policy. And it gives employees something to think about before they commit e-sabotage.