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Employment Contracts

Include past conduct in ‘for-cause’ clause


If you use employment contracts for key employees, and those contracts include a “for cause” discharge clause—essentially allowing you to terminate the contract (and employment) for specified reasons—include a paragraph that includes acts or omissions that occurred before the contract was signed.

Put teeth in your arbitration agreements! Make sure employees acknowledge them


If you use mandatory arbitration agreements, take the extra time to make sure courts will enforce them. In New York, that means showing that the applicant or employee knew that getting and keeping her job required agreeing to arbitration of all employment disputes.

What should we do? We may need to terminate one of our founding partners


Q. My company, a North Carolina corporation, has only four employees, all of whom are equal shareholders. We don’t have employment contracts. May three of us decide to terminate the employment of the other, a 25% shareholder?

Should we require a nondisclosure agreement?


Q. Should we require new employees to sign a nondisclosure agreement in order to protect our trade secrets, customer lists, etc.?

Call lawyer when changes mean employees must sign releases


Sometimes, it pays to take the time and spend the money to have legal experts carefully review your proposed actions. That’s especially true if your company is changing the way it does business in a fundamental way and wants employees to sign off on changes that dramatically affect how they are paid or whether they remain employees.

N.J. employees can have NJLAD, NJFLA cases heard here


If you’re an out-of-state company that makes New Jersey employees sign employment contracts requiring disputes to be brought in your home state, don’t expect that to stick.

State Supreme Court: Public employment contracts are public


The state Supreme Court has ruled that the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (IFOIA) covers the employment contracts of public officials. The case involved an IFOIA request for school superintendent Gary Catalani’s employment agreement with the Wheaton-Warrenville Community Unit School District 200.

What plaintiff’s lawyers don’t want HR pros to know


Want to know how to get under the skin of the lawyers who represent employees? Ask one. They won’t all cop to what sinks their cases, but attorney Whitney Warner did. Learn what she fears most when staring down an employer in court.

Arbitration policy allows opt-out? Track forms carefully

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What are the pros and cons of requiring staff to sign mandatory arbitration clauses?


Q. My company is considering requiring employees to agree to an arbitration clause to resolve any employment disputes, including discrimination complaints. I have been told it is a good risk-management tool for avoiding high legal defense costs and big jury verdicts. Do you agree?