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Employment Contracts

When former employees poach more of your all-stars, fight back in court

There’s hope for employers victimized by competitors who attempt to poach corporate all-stars. If some other organization tries to unethically steal your best employees, you may have a remedy—even if you haven’t made employees sign noncompete agreements (which aren’t usually enforceable in California anyway).

Include an extension clause in your noncompete agreements

In the wake of a recent Illinois court decision in Citadel Investment Group, LLC v. Teza Technologies LLC, employers should rethink their noncompete agreements. Without fine tuning, these contracts may not work as well as they could.

Get legal help when negotiating union contract

Drafting a collective-bargaining agreement isn’t a do-it-yourself project. You have to make sure that the language in the union contract does what you intend it to do. For that, you should consult an experienced labor-relations attorney.

With arbitration under attack, consider right-to-jury-trial waivers


With the enactment of the Franken Amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act for FY 2010, Congress and the Obama administration have begun an assault on employers’ use of mandatory arbitration as an alternative to court trials for resolving workplace disputes and claims. Employers have been asking whether other alternatives to jury trials will exist in the absence of arbitration. One alternative that companies can consider: entering into waivers of civil jury trials with their employees.

How should we proceed? We want to hire someone who has signed a noncompete agreement


Q. We would like to hire an applicant who used to work for a similar company, but he has a noncompete agreement with his former employer. We think the noncompete is way too broad—it lasts for three years and prevents him from working anywhere in the country—and we do not believe the work he will be doing competes with any activities of his former employer. Can we go ahead and hire him?

Court removes ‘unconscionable’ parts of arbitration agreement


Here’s some good news for employers that use arbitration agreements: A California appellate court has ruled that when only part of an arbitration agreement turns out to be invalid because it is “unconscionable,” the rest of the agreement remains intact if the invalid section can easily be removed.

Texas High Court rules arbitration agreements valid despite changing employment conditions


The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that an arbitration agreement presented as a condition of employment is valid even though it was initially drafted by an HR management company that no longer manages personnel matters. The court looked carefully at the arbitration agreement and concluded it was a binding contract—partly because it contained a clause that allowed the employer to end the agreement prospectively only.

Call your attorney! Confidentiality agreements aren’t a do-it-yourself project


California employers don’t have many options for preventing employees from competing once they move on to another employer. For example, noncompete agreements are illegal here. The courts also look askance at other attempts to restrain competition and prevent former employees from practicing their professions even if such restrictions are temporary.

No money for promised pay raise: Now what?


Q. Do we have to conduct regular performance appraisals and give annual increases? We told a new hire that we would, but now don’t have time or money to do so.

One benefit of union contract: Lawsuits must be filed fast


Here’s an upside to having a comprehensive collective-bargaining agreement: Employees who claim they were denied benefits they had been promised can’t sue under Ohio state contract law if the subject of the lawsuit is covered by the union contract.