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Employment Contracts

Somerset prison guard union talks headed to arbitration

Forty Somerset County prison guards will continue to work under the terms of a contract that expired at the end of 2010 while they and the county take contract negotiations to arbitration. The county has asked the guards to accept concessions on either wages or health benefits.

Beware relying on arbitration agreements: They’re California courts’ pet peeves

You may have heard that arbitration agreements are a great way to avoid lengthy and potentially costly employment discrimination lawsuits. But before you decide to use an arbitration agreement, remember that California courts don’t like them very much.

Hiring employees from competitor

Q. We are hiring a high-level employee who will come to us from our major competitor. She has no noncompete agreement with her current employer. Is that our only risk?

What can employers opting out of workers’ comp do to minimize the threat of lawsuits?

Q. My company is a nonsubscriber under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act and has its own on-the-job employee injury benefit plan. Is there any way to decrease the likelihood of employees who receive benefits under the plan later suing the company and recovering damages related to their injuries?

Disclaimer can counter employment-contract argument

A disclaimer that clearly states an employee has no employment contract may be enough to kill a tortuous interference-with-contract claim.

How should we go about changing severance pay policies spelled out in employment agreements?

Q. Can we reduce the severance amounts cited in employment agreements we have with certain staff as long as we notify them of the change?

Use last-chance agreements to force rule-breakers to either shape up or ship out


Some employees think they can freely break rules they consider unimportant. Trouble is, other employees often follow suit. Your best bet for stopping such nonsense: Explain to the main culprit that his behavior is unacceptable—and then give him one last chance. Get that warning in writing with a formal last-chance agreement.

Legislature must sign off on government union contracts

Despite tough fiscal times, labor unions are trying to squeeze out the best possible benefits for their members. But when the people of California will pay the bill, unions and government agencies need to provide a cost breakdown to the state Legislature. Otherwise the agreements won’t become law.

Make your arbitration agreements stick: Consult lawyer, communicate with employees


If you’re considering so-called alternative dispute resolution, be sure to have an experienced attorney draw up the arbitration agreement. It should clearly state that all employment disputes will be handled by arbitration. Your role in HR is to take all necessary steps to ensure employees understand that agreeing to arbitration is a condition of employment.

Arbitrators can decide post-termination retaliation

Good news if you use arbitration agreements: They apply to former employees who claim retaliation based on protected activity. The potential result: You’re less likely to wind up defending a lawsuit in federal court.