Often, an employee will sign an employment contract that contains, among other things, a non-compete and a set term. Because the parties fail to renew the employment contract after it expires, the employee continues to work on an “at-will” basis.
Later, the employee resigns, joins a competitor and begins a solicitation campaign in violation of the expired employment contract’s non-compete. The former employer files a court action seeking to enforce the non-compete in the expired employment contract. Is the non-compete enforceable? Continue reading
In Fay v. Total Quality Logistics, LLC, the South Carolina Appellate Court determined that the confidentiality provision in an employment agreement was so broad that it needed to be reviewed under the standards applicable to non-competition agreements and, because it lacked a durational provision, held it unenforceable. Continue reading
The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”) provides a new tool in the form of an ex parte seizure for businesses and individuals to safeguard their trade secrets after misappropriation has occurred. Unfortunately, many trade secret owners have discovered that obtaining this form of relief is no easy task. Continue reading
Most severance agreements these days specify that nothing in the agreement prevents the employee from speaking with regulators about possible violations of the law. This is due to regulators’ concerns that the confidentiality clause that is standard in severance agreements may chill employee whistleblowing.
But what about other employment agreements that have confidentiality clauses?
Employees sign all sorts of agreements with confidentiality restrictions, ranging from offer letters to deferred compensation award agreements. Must these agreements also exempt whistleblowing from their confidentiality obligations?
Having flipped the calendar over to a new year, here’s a look back at some of the developments in trade secrets and restrictive covenants that shaped the law in 2016. Some major developments came not from the courts, but from the legislative and executive branches—both federal and state.
Illinois employers have a new law to be mindful of beginning this new year. That’s when the Illinois Freedom to Work Act (the “Act”) goes into effect banning the use of non-compete agreements with low-wage employees.
The Act prohibits employers from entering into “covenants not to compete” with “low-wage employees” after January 1, 2017, and declares void any covenant entered into in violation of the Act. The new law does not apply to covenants not to compete entered into before January 1st. Continue reading
The Illinois Attorney General filed suit in June 2016 against Jimmy John’s for its use of non-competes with low-wage workers. This suit – which appears to be the first of its kind – alleges Jimmy John’s use of non-competes violates Illinois law and hurts Illinois residents and businesses by limiting the pool of available workers and artificially suppressing wages.