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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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03 Apr 2017 Noncompetes Q&A: A Look at Ohio

    We write a lot on the Currents blog about noncompete agreements. The topic presents a wealth of material because of the critical differences between state laws and the importance of employers to be aware of developments even in states where they don’t do business, and the fact that typically several times a year there is a development in some state’s law, with Nevada and Pennsylvania being two examples in recent years where a state supreme court decision has attracted attention.   Yet I find that…

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31 Jan 2017 The Three Seats of Noncompetes: Mistakes We See When Employees Move

  We often write on Currents about developments in the area of noncompete law, primarily case law and statutory developments across the country in this highly state-specific area. This year will likely be no different – among other things, the seemingly annual ritual of Massachusetts noncompete legislation has begun anew. While the rules shift and evolve, when employers and employees find themselves in disputes over noncompetes, there are recurring themes or factors that might have been avoided.   This article I wrote reviews these factors, broken down…

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19 Sep 2016 Does New Illinois Law Signify A Third Frontier of Noncompete State-by-State Variations?

  Recently, Jennifer Cerven wrote on Currents about a new Illinois law that prohibits noncompete agreements for low wage workers, i.e. those making less than $13/hour. There has been heightened dialogue about such restrictions since the publicity surrounding the Jimmy John’s noncompete requirement for some of its sandwich makers. I have suggested here before that most courts I know would be discinlined to enforce a noncompete with such an employee anyway, though as one parent of a summer camp counselor appropriately pointed out to me after that post,…

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28 Sep 2015 Enforcing The Phantom Noncompete: Michigan Court Allows Employer To Pursue Noncompete Claim In The Absence Of A Written Document Signed By Employee

It is commonly accepted that to enforce a noncompete agreement against an unfaithful employee, the employer first needs to have a signed, written agreement with that employee. However, a new decision from a federal court in the Western District of Michigan, Stryker Corporation v. Ridgeway, has splashed some cold water on that notion.   The employer in Stryker sued a former employee for breach of his noncompete agreement. Unfortunately for the company, it had no signed version of the noncompete. Jumping on this opportunity, the…

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10 Aug 2015 “Blue-penciling” saves the day in noncompete cases – sometimes, but not always

In the sue-or-be-sued world of post-employment restrictive covenants, the outcome ultimately hinges on which side can convince a judge that it is entitled to have its way. To enforce, or not to enforce – that is the question that judges are called upon to decide.  And sometimes the answer is to enforce but with limitations.   A recent case from the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is a reminder that in some jurisdictions a judge can exercise discretion to narrow an overly broad covenant…

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18 May 2015 Pro-Enforcement Noncompete Decision from Wisconsin Supreme Court

I have written here before on the unique issues raised by state-by-state variations in noncompete law, and here in depth on one of the key variations – what a state’s courts will recognize as sufficient consideration for a noncompete. Is “mere” continuing employment sufficient as it is in Ohio, for example, or is does it require something as is the case in Kentucky since a 2014 decision from that state’s Supreme Court? In the closely watched case of Runzheimer Int’l Ltd. v. Friedlen, Wisconsin has…

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02 Feb 2015 7 Questions Employers Should Ask Themselves Every Year LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

This week Y is for year – a good guideline for the longest employers should go without asking themselves these questions to make sure they are taking advantage of opportunities to minimize employee-related liability:   Do you have accurate job descriptions, regularly signed off on by the employees, that will help you manage and defend ADA, wage and hour, and other employment issues and claims?   Have you reviewed each employee classified as exempt to ensure proper classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act, including…

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05 Sep 2014 Indiana Follows Illinois in Key Noncompete Decisions from the Heartland LETTER OF THE LAW: CURRENT EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES A-Z

  With apologies to Iowa, home to the somewhat famous (infamous?) case of the dental assistant fired for being irresistible and Idaho (not yet featured in BT Currents), Letter of the Law this week features two of the “I states” for some of the more noteworthy noncompete decisions of the last year. As readers know, the key driver in noncompete drafting and enforcement often is the dynamic of varying state laws. Employers and practitioners need to keep tabs on developments outside their own state because, try as…

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