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Employment Contracts

Beware promises about schedules, retention that could create an employment contract


Texas is an at-will employment state, which means employers are free to fire employees for any nondiscriminatory reason unless an employment agreement or union contract specifically says otherwise. But what if an employer promises an employee a better schedule or that she’ll be retained for a specific period of time? Does that create a contract, thus jeopardizing at-will status?

Make sure FMLA eligibility form doesn’t create a contract


A federal court has refused to accept the notion that a standard FMLA eligibility form sent to an employee creates a contract.

Check calendar when employee files lawsuit covered by employment agreement


A federal court hearing a North Carolina case has dismissed a discrimination lawsuit based on failure to file that lawsuit within a shortened time limit that the parties had agreed they would use.

Seek attorney’s help on noncompete agreements


It’s important to carefully tailor noncompete agreements, also known as covenants not to compete. Employers can prohibit employees from poaching customers, but it’s essential to have an attorney help you craft a covenant that will prevail in court.

Court: Electronic arbitration agreements are valid


The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that arbitration agreements that exist only in electronic form are valid and binding.

Can handbooks create employment contracts?


Q. I have heard that an employee handbook can create a contract between the employer and the employee. Is this true? If so, can this be prevented?

ERISA can send contract case to federal court


Employment agreements are contracts. When disputes arise, they’re typically litigated in state courts because they involve state contract laws. But under the right circumstances, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) may apply to the agreement, effectively making the contract a protected benefit plan.

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?