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Employment Contracts

Beware union pact allowing arbitration and lawsuits

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


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

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

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?

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


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.

Settlement accepted? That makes it a contract

Here’s something to remember when your attorneys are negotiating a settlement agreement in a pending lawsuit or other claim: As soon as you and the other party agree to an offer, a contract is formed and the terms are binding. That’s true even if the agreement hasn’t yet been signed.

Justices rule ordinance can create contract

The Supreme Court of Texas has ruled that, under some circumstances, an ordinance that governs the work of public employees and specifies benefits may be enforceable as a contract.

Make sure your noncompete agreements comply with all Texas requirements


The Supreme Court of Texas has ruled that an employer can’t seek dam­ages under a covenant-not-to-­compete if the underlying agreement doesn’t satisfy standards set out in Texas state law. That means all your efforts to protect the company from a former employee are wasted unless the agree­ment is rock solid.

Lawmakers urged to reject new labor contracts

The nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has urged state law­makers to consider rejecting some or all of six new collective bargaining agreements negotiated with state employee unions in March.