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The basics of restrictive covenants in employment contracts, pt 2

Restrictive covenants are often a necessary component of employment contracts. They can prevent former employees from poaching their colleagues, ensure company secrets remain private and restrict a departing employee's ability to compete with your company. 

In a previous blog post, we went over the three most common types of restrictive covenants. This post will conclude our two-part series on restrictive covenants in employment contracts by discussing a few more examples and examining a few potential complications. 

State employees terminated after allegedly reporting violations of law

Two former high-profile employees with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) are filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against the commission. The lawsuit claims that the employees faced retaliation and were wrongfully dismissed after reporting alleged legal violations that they discovered.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in Travis County District Court, two female staffers suspected the agency of committing several legal infractions. When they reported these incidents to HHSC, the agency's leadership allegedly lashed out at the claimants, targeting them for reporting the violations. The women state that they were excluded from several important meetings for the programs that they oversaw. One litigant also claims that she was subject to a baseless investigation and that her signature was forged by one of her supervisors on a negative performance review.

The basics of restrictive covenants in employment contracts, pt 1

When you are creating an employment contract, it is sometimes necessary to lay out a few restrictions. For example, if an employee leaves your company, would you want him taking his knowledge of your confidential information and using it to compete with your business? How about if a former employee was to recruit your clients or customers to a competing company? Both of these scenarios could cost any company dearly.

That's why many employers include restrictive covenants in their employment contracts. In this post, we will discuss the three types of restrictive covenants. In our next post in this two-part series, we will go over some more examples of restrictive covenants and a few issues that may arise because of them.

It's a New Year, and time to update your employee handbook?

Employee handbooks are a helpful resource for outlining your company's policies, but if it is outdated or you don't have one, consider incorporating it into your business plan for 2018. A handbook can help set the standard for employee behavior and protect your organization from lawsuits.

Uber accused of illegal spying and stealing trade secrets

Companies have a vested interest in protecting trade secrets from competitors in an effort to maintain an advantage in the marketplace. The government recognizes the need for healthy market competition and will prosecute companies which steal another’s assets.

Uber is being investigated by authorities for allegedly illegal practices under its previous CEO, Travis Kalanick. Some of the allegations include employees pursuing illegal intelligence activities to obtain trade secrets from Uber’s rivals. 

Is there such a thing as wrongful demotion?

Terminating an employee can be a minefield for employers to navigate. Employers must be able to back up their decision in case of a lawsuit, hire a replacement and ensure that the employee will not retaliate or badmouth the company. Not to mention, many employees who are fired are good, hardworking people, and telling someone that their job is being terminated is never easy.

In the same vein, an employer must sometimes make the difficult decision to demote an employee. Perhaps the employee was performing below par, the position is being eliminated or the employee is being disciplined for misconduct. These are all legitimate reasons for a demotion. Be careful when demoting an employee, though: There is such a thing as a wrongful demotion, and it can have serious legal ramifications.

The role of human resources in sexual harassment

As the national conversation around sexual harassment continues, companies looking to avoid expensive settlements or lengthy litigation may want to consider investing in a human resources manager or director.

Human resources professionals are responsible for setting the tone in the workplace as much as top management. They protect company culture and save employers from employee issues by solving problems before they escalate.

Contacting employees on FMLA leave: A primer for employers

According to federal law, employers cannot make their employees work during FMLA leave. Most HR departments are well aware of this. But there is one area that is not always so clear: When, if ever, is it acceptable for employers to contact their employees who are on FMLA leave?

Once in a while, it may be necessary to contact an employee who is out on FMLA leave. Some forms of contact may be considered FMLA interference or could leave employers open to wage-and-hour disputes. This is a primer for contacting employees who are out on FMLA leave.

Women say that workplace discrimination comes in many forms

As the recent spate of sexual harassment scandals has shown, the workplace is not always a welcoming environment for women. Sexual harassment is currently the most widely discussed challenge for women in the workplace, but it is hardly the only one. According to a new survey, American women report facing many different forms of gender discrimination while on the job.

The Pew Research Center has released a new study on gender discrimination in the United States workforce. The data show that 42 percent of working women say they have dealt with discrimination based on their gender. And according to the respondents, workplace discrimination occurs in a variety of ways.

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