Employment Law Articles

Careless Drafting of Non-Compete Agreements Can Lead to Enforceability Problems

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             A recent Florida Appellate Court case highlights the need to carefully draft non-compete agreements.  Heiderich v. Florida Equine Veterinary Services, Inc.  In that case, the ex employee was prohibited from “owning, managing, operating, controlling, being employed by, assisting, participating in, or having any material interest in any business engaged in a general equine veterinary practice within 30 miles of the former employer.”  The former employee opened an office just outside the 30 mile zone and treated patients, including those of the former employer, within the 30 mile zone.  The former employer sought an injunction, but the Appellate Court found for the former employee.  In doing so, it interpreted the relevant clause to prohibit the former employee from establishing a physical location within 30 miles, but it did not prevent the performance of competitive services within 30 miles.

It's Good to be King

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            According to the AFL-CIO, chief executives of the nation’s largest companies earned an average of $12.3 million in total pay last year, or 355 times more than the $34,645 earned by the typical American worker. In contrast, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, made $302,000 in total compensation, or 8.7 times the average worker. The discrepancy in pay between CEOs and average workers has skyrocketed over the years. In 1980, CEO pay was only 42 times that of the average worker. While the 2012 figure is significant, it is actually lower than the peak year of 2000 when CEOs earned 525 times the amount paid to those working for them.

Complying with the New I-9 Requirements

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            As of May 7, 2013, all employers were required to begin using newly revised I-9 Forms for all new hires, or for employees subject to reverification. The new form, along with applicable instructions, is available here. Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of all individuals hired in the United States. This includes citizens as well as non-citizens. Employers failing to use the new form will be subject to civil penalties.

Non-Competes Unenforceable Unless they Protect Legitimate Business Interests

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           In Creative Dimensions, Inc. v. Laberge, 2012 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1464 (May 31, 2012), the Connecticut Superior Court rejected an employer’s attempt to enforce a non-compete and non-solicitation agreement because the company was unable to prove the agreement was tailored to protect a legitimate business interest. In reaching its decision, the court relied on a five factor test previously articulated by the Connecticut Supreme Court to determine whether restrictive covenants are enforceable.

Drafting At-Will Language Gets More Complicated

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            The Appellate Court of Connecticut recently found an employment contract for a definite period was not subject to the “at-will” doctrine because the grounds for termination were not expressly stated. Cruz v. Visual Perceptions, LLC, 136 Conn. App. 330 (2012).


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