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Employment Contracts

One benefit of union contract: Lawsuits must be filed fast

01/11/2010

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.

OK to withhold commissions from employees who violate fiduciary obligations

01/07/2010

The Texas Payday Act allows employees to sue for commissions earned but unpaid after termination. But that doesn’t mean that employees are always owed such commissions. If they violated their fiduciary duty to their employers by disclosing confidential information to a competitor, it’s legitimate to withhold pay.

Do you need a policy barring workers from forwarding e-mails to personal accounts?

01/04/2010

By now, you should have an electronic communications policy and know to block computer access to newly terminated employees. But it’s also wise to prohibit current employees from forwarding e-mails from the company computer to their personal e-mail accounts outside the company.

Employment Contracts

01/03/2010

HR Law 101: Some employers and employees choose to enter into an employment contract. Usually the worker is seeking job security, while the company wants to protect its trade secrets and sales territories. However, if you sign an employment contract, you may find that you’ve given away more than you bargained for …

Design restrictive agreements that protect you—and stick in court

12/15/2009

Do you rely on restrictive agreements (also known as noncompete agreements) to prevent employees from working for the competition and stealing your customers? If so, now is a good time to make sure those agreements will stand up in court.
A recent 11th Circuit Court of Appeals case, Proudfoot Consulting Co. v. Gordon, illustrates the obstacles and complexity that can trip up employers that take former employees to court.

How to ensure settlements are the last word: Ask lawyer to draft all agreements

12/15/2009

The last thing you want after settling a discrimination or harassment complaint is for the case to rear its ugly head again. That’s why settlement agreements should include clear language releasing you—the employer—from any further liability. Your best bet: Have your attorney prepare all your settlement agreements to make sure they meet state and federal laws.

Review anti-discrimination practices to make sure they cover contract employees, too

12/09/2009

Employers sometimes erroneously assume that employees working under a set-term employment contract don’t have any rights once the contract expires. That’s simply not true. In fact, refusing to entertain a contract renewal for a discriminatory reason can be the basis for an employee’s lawsuit.

Do you need a ‘no forwarding’ e-mail policy?

12/09/2009

Here’s a potential electronic communications problem you may not have considered. An employee who forwards e-mail from a company computer and e-mail account to his personal address may end up using those e-mails later in litigation against the company. That’s one reason it makes sense to prohibit employees from forwarding e-mails to their personal e-mail accounts.

Double-check all commission agreements! You could be liable for more than you think

12/09/2009

If you pay commissions under a written compensation plan that covers commissions earned only while the employee works for your company, be careful how you handle terminations—and discussion concerning payment of further commissions. In some circumstances, you could inadvertently create additional liability for unpaid commissions …

Are there alternatives to noncompete agreements?

12/08/2009

Q. I have certain employees that I don’t want leaving my business to work for a competitor. I am leery about using a noncompetition agreement because I know that courts can be hostile toward them. I understand they can cost a lot of money in legal fees to enforce. Are there any alternatives for me to consider?