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Employment Contracts

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

07/19/2011
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

06/30/2011
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

06/30/2011

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

06/24/2011

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.

Beware union pact allowing arbitration and lawsuits

06/23/2011
Watch out if a union represents some of your employees, and the union contract does not bar federal discrimination lawsuits. A federal court has ruled that unless there’s a provision making arbitration the exclusive remedy, employees can simultaneously pursue arbitration and litigation.

Tell staff: Break data rules, risk prosecution

06/16/2011

When explaining your computer-use policy, make sure employees understand they may be criminally prosecuted if they violate the rules and gain access to information they have no business reading. That should make them think twice about obtaining confidential in­­for­ma­tion and passing it on to the competition.

Supreme Court OKs class-action waivers in arbitration pacts

06/13/2011
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that employers do have the right to include class-action waivers in their arbitration agreements. The court said the Federal Arbitration Act pre-empts any state laws that would try to nullify an arbitration clause that bars class-wide arbitrations.

Include summary of arb agreement in receipt

06/10/2011
If you require employees to accept arbitration as a condition of employment, you can include a brief statement describing the plan in an acknowledgment. As long as the acknowledgment shows that the employee may read the entire arbitration agreement before signing, it doesn’t matter whether she actually does.

Without a noncompete agreement, can we stop a former employee from undercutting us?

06/08/2011
Q. We just had a successful salesperson quit his job and join one of our major competitors. We did not, unfortunately, have him sign either a noncompete agreement or a confidential information agreement. We are very concerned that he may have taken, and may be using, some of our company’s confidential business information, including detailed customer information. Is there anything we can do about this situation, given the absence of any written contract?

Franken introduces Arbitration Fairness Act

06/08/2011

Sen. Al Franken has introduced a bill aimed at undoing the Supreme Court’s recent decision in AT&T v. Concepcion, which barred class ­actions in arbitration cases. The Arbitration Fairness Act would prevent employers from requiring applicants and employees to agree to ­arbitration as a condition of employment.