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Employment Contracts

What’s the Minnesota law on confidentiality agreements? Are they enforceable?


Q. Our company works with proprietary and confidential information. We would like to protect ourselves from having that information get disclosed to competing companies. Are confidentiality agreements enforceable? If so, must they be signed at the start of a new employee’s job in order to be valid?

Last-chance isn’t ‘license to discriminate’


If you use last-chance agreements that include an employee’s promise not to sue, understand that courts will strictly limit such a promise. The agreement can include a promise not to sue for past alleged employer discrimination in exchange for the last chance to remain employed. However, that promise cannot be extended to any discrimination that may occur later.

N.C. appeals court ruling: Noncompete clause goes too far

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OC Register settles independent contractor suit for $22 million


The Orange County Register recently agreed to pay $22 million to settle a class action brought by its paper carriers, who claimed the newspaper misclassified them as independent contractors rather than employees. The settlement will bring to an end a two-month trial against the newspaper.

Do you use an arbitration clause? Make sure you can prove employees agreed


Employers that use arbitration clauses can often get lawsuits sent to an arbitrator for faster and less expensive resolution—but only if they are prepared to prove that their employees agreed to arbitration.

Obama signs 3 union-supported executive orders


Following through on his promises to labor unions—strong financial supporters of his presidential campaign—President Obama recently signed a trio of pro-employee executive orders that undo Bush administration policies.

Heading to bargaining table? Review contract language before changing benefits


If your organization has a collective-bargaining agreement with a union, make sure you check with counsel before you make any changes to benefits. In some cases, promises made in past contracts—such as a promise to provide retiree health benefits—may be a binding, vested promise that cannot be undone, at least for those who have already qualified.

Last-chance agreements put employers on sure footing


If you offer last-chance agreements instead of immediately firing employees, you can impose seemingly draconian measures without worrying about a lawsuit. If you later terminate an employee for violating agreement terms, most courts will take your side.

How do courts approach enforcement of noncompete agreements?


Q. My company requires new employees to sign a two-year noncompete agreement. Are such agreements enforceable?

Make agreements truly a last chance: It’s OK to forbid appeals or challenges


If you want to give an employee one last chance to fly right, you can use a so-called “last chance agreement.” Such contracts can be used, for example, to set the terms for being drug or alcohol free and submitting to random testing. Last-chance agreements can even include tough terms