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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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01 Jun 2017 Six Statements That May Mean Your Business Will Keep an Employment Lawyer Busy

  I recently posted elsewhere six things I hear employers say that, while understandable in some cases, may actually cost the employer money in legal fees (and, with some of them, judgments or settlements). Here are the statements and more info on why they are problematic:   “Noncompetes aren’t really enforceable. I’ll just hire him.” “I’ll just get a document off the internet.” “I’ll write it myself, then my lawyer can review it.” “Other employees are tired of having to cover for him being sick.”…

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07 Sep 2016 Illinois Cracks Down on Noncompetes for Low-Wage Workers

  Should the teenage workers who make your deli sandwich (or bus tables or perform other routine entry-level work) be able to move from one job to another without running afoul of a noncompete? The court of public opinion thought so, as evidenced by the controversy that erupted over the Jimmy Johns sandwich chain’s much-publicized business plan that even low-level workers should be subjected to post-employment restrictions, as we reported here.   Now the Illinois General Assembly has stepped in with the new Illinois Freedom…

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29 Feb 2016 State Noncompete Statutes, Your Company, and the Economy: One Perspective

  We write a lot on Currents about noncompetes. Even if your company does not use them, you may find yourself hiring somebody who has signed one with a former employer, and as a Currents reader, you know that the rules about noncompetes vary widely from state to state and you need to have some awareness of how they vary before making decisions. For example, even if an Ohio noncompete specifies the application of Ohio law, if litigation is commenced in another state, the other state’s courts…

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15 Feb 2016 Massachusetts and the Impending Death of Noncompetes Part II: De Facto Enforcement of Noncompetes

  Last week I wrote about Massachusetts legislation to ban noncompetes. As I wrote, from our position of representing businesses, we do not have an inherent preference for or against noncompetes because there are business interests on either side of the issues (as the Massachusetts debate illustrates). Rather, our job is to guide clients through the changing and varied rules across the states about noncompetes.  However, I do feel that opponents of noncompetes often make statements about the prevalence of noncompetes, the decline of noncompetes,…

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08 Feb 2016 Groundhog Day: Declaring the Impending Death of Massachusetts Noncompetes

  For the last three years, we have reported on legislative efforts to ban noncompetes in Massachusetts. You can see each of those reports here. Thus far none of those efforts have been successful. Here again in 2016, legislative efforts to ban noncompetes promise to continue in Massachusetts, with one commentator declaring, “This is the year.”   Our job as business lawyers is to advise clients on how widely varying state laws affect their ability to use noncompetes, then they can make their business decisions…

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19 Nov 2015 Pennsylvania Supreme Court “Considers” Noncompetes: Mere Continued Employment Not Enough

In what has been a remarkable run of state supreme court cases out of the heartland addressing the question of what consideration will be sufficient to support a noncompete, yesterday the Pennsylvania Supreme Court came down on the anti-enforcement side of this question, holding that any restriction on employment requires some additional benefit beyond continued employment. In other words, an employer cannot hand a noncompete to a long-term employee and have it be enforceable unless the employer provides some additional value to the employee. Pennsylvania…

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07 Nov 2015 Noncompete Roundup – Florida Lack Of Evidence Regarding Long-Standing Or Exclusive Relationships With Customers Invalidates Noncompete Injunction On Appeal

Florida historically has taken a tough stand toward enforcing noncompetes, as a recent state-court appellate case illustrates. For those unfamiliar with Sunshine State law on noncompetes, Florida has a statute that requires noncompete agreements to be (a) in writing, (b) signed by the employee, (c) reasonable in terms of time and geography and (d) reasonably necessary to protect the legitimate business interests of the employer. While protecting customer relationships is considered to be a legitimate business interest worthy of protection, this normally does not extend…

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06 Nov 2015 Noncompete Roundup – Oklahoma Fifth Circuit Rejects Contractual Attempts To Bypass Strict Oklahoma Law Against Restrictive Covenants

Many employers would be surprised to learn that Oklahoma has some of the country’s toughest standards when it comes to enforcing restrictive covenants.  The sharp contrast between the laws of the Sooner State and its peers, such as Texas, was recently highlighted in by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cardoni v. Prosperity Bank (Case No. 14-20682).   As background, Oklahoma expressly provides that any restraints on a lawful profession, trade or business are void, unless it meets one of a handful of narrow…

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13 Oct 2015 Noncompetes In Mexico

I recently had occasion to look into Mexican law regarding non-competition agreements. For those who are unfamiliar with Mexican noncompete law, it can be summarized succinctly: see California. Like the Golden State, Mexico takes a dim view toward non-competition agreements.  In fact, the unenforceability of restrictive covenants is not even a matter of Mexican statute, it’s actually embedded into the country’s Constitution.   Specifically, Article 5 of the Mexican Constitution provides that “the State cannot permit the execution of any contract, covenant, or agreement having…

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12 Oct 2015 Think Before You Shoot on Noncompete: Why The Threatening Letter May Not Be Your First Move

I recently wrote an article about the importance of thinking a few steps ahead before businesses have their lawyers send the proverbial nasty lawyer letter.  Those letters certainly have their place in many contexts, but the article explains why you should think through the possible responses to the letter and be sure before the letter goes in the mail that you are ready to deal with the consequences.   So it is when an employee departs and is believed to be working for a competitor…

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