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Employment Contracts

Noncompete agreements and trade secrets


Q. My company is involved in the biotech industry and regularly develops proprietary information. We currently are working with an executive search firm to find a replacement for a high-level marketing executive position. Management wants to manage the risk of disclosure of confidential information. How restrictive may the potential candidate’s noncompete agreement be, given the company’s special needs to protect trade secrets? …

California Supreme Court issues key class-Action ruling


The California Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited decision in the case of Gentry v. Superior Court, deciding whether class-action waivers in employment arbitration agreements are legally binding. In a case of good news/bad news for employers, the court didn’t say that all arbitration agreements, or even all class-action waivers, were invalid—just the poorly drafted ones …

Should you encourage job candidates to reject other job offers?


Q. Our company recently offered a job to a highly skilled software designer. Upon offering the worker a position, she informed us that she had accepted a similar position with one of our competitors. However, she told us that she would rather take our offer. What should we do? …

Oral settlement agreement may be binding even if the specifics are unclear


When it comes to settling New Jersey employment lawsuits on the eve of trial, be forewarned: Understand all the terms of the agreement before you tell the court the matter is settled. Don’t expect to come back to court for a do-over when you later can’t agree on some of the terms. In New Jersey, a deal is a deal—even if it isn’t in writing …

Keep track of termination notice date


North Carolina employees have 180 days to file discrimination complaints with the EEOC. Those who don’t meet the deadline lose their rights to sue. But the date that really counts is not the actual termination date if the employer informed the employee earlier that she would lose her job …

NCWHA governs employee incentive and bonus plans


Incentive-pay programs and bonus plans are very common in North Carolina and sometimes constitute a significant portion of an employee’s pay. But if a dispute develops, the employee does not have a claim for breach of an employment contract. Instead, the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act (NCWHA) applies. The application of the NCWHA, which contains notice and nonforfeiture requirements, often takes employers and employees by surprise …

Surely this employer should have known better


A federal trial court has rebuffed attempts by a law firm to enforce an arbitration agreement against one of its own attorneys. The attorney, a woman, claimed that she had been paid less than male attorneys for the same work. She sued …

How do oral promises affect an ‘Employment contract’?


Q. Do oral promises my employer made during my job interview or during my employment constitute part of my contract of employment? …

Manager’s waffling can invalidate otherwise-Legitimate arbitration policy


Texas employers that want their employees to give up the right to take employment disputes to court must make sure they are clear about that intention. Although employees don’t actually have to sign the agreement to arbitrate, they must understand that the agreement is a condition of employment …

Pay correct, timely wages in NC or risk double damages


North Carolina’s Wage and Hour Act says that if you fail to pay workers what they’re due, they can sue for those unpaid (or late) wages, plus a penalty of double what was due. Your only defense to double damages: proof that you acted in good faith and reasonably—a tough task …