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Employment Contracts

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?

What’s a bad firing cost? For one company, $4 billion


Yes, you read right. Four billion dollars. Billion—with a “B”! A California superior court recently confirmed an award of $4.1 billion against a Chinese company, its U.S. affiliate and its founder after an arbitrator found them liable in a compensation dispute with a former executive.

What should we do? A contract refers to both ‘termination for cause’ and ‘at-will’ employment


Q. We need to fire an employee who has an employment contract that limits termination without notice to “for cause” events. Must we abide by this provision if another provision in the contract clearly indicates that his employment is “at will” only?

What should I consider when updating our noncompete agreements?


Q. The employment and noncompete agreements we have with our salespeople are several years old and appear outdated to me. May I require everyone to sign new, updated agreements?

Contract conundrum: Pay lawyer now, or pay employee later?


Confusing contract language did not cost a New Jersey car dealer millions of dollars, but in this economy, who can afford to lose even a little?

Company Records: What to Keep, What to Dump

A records retention schedule ensures that an organization keeps the records it needs for operational, legal, fiscal or historical reasons, and then destroys them when they’re no longer useful. You have to know what you have and how long to keep it—legally and for your own business purposes—before you can establish an efficient records management system.

Can we require riffed employees to sign a release before they receive severance pay?


Q. Under our company policy, employees who are terminated because of a reduction in force are entitled to severance pay. Can we require them to execute a release in order to receive severance pay?