Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires “places of public accommodation,” such as retail businesses and restaurants, to be accessible to persons with disabilities. Common architectural features that permit access include handicap parking, curb cuts, wheelchair ramps and other design modifications. The ADA provides a private right of action to force a non-compliant establishment to make the necessary physical alterations to allow access. If the lawsuit is successful, the ADA provides for reasonable attorneys’ fees—a prospect that has fueled the proliferation of ADA lawsuits.
It is well known that employers must reimburse California employees for cell phone use when employees are required to use their personal cell phones for business purposes. Reimbursement is required even if the employee does not actually incur extra expenses as a result of his or her use. However, what is not well understood is how much must be reimbursed.
A recent decision by the New Jersey Appellate Division is a glaring reminder for employers in New Jersey and elsewhere to review their employee handbooks, manuals and other codes of conduct periodically to ensure that their employment at-will disclaimer language is clear and prominent in compliance with the seminal decision on this issue, Woolley v. Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc. 99 N.J. 302, modified, 101 N.J. 10 (1985), and its progeny.
About a year ago, we published an article on the firm’s LaborSphere blog about a $51.4 million jury award to a former Lockheed Martin employee who alleged age discrimination when he was let go as part of a company-wide reduction in force (“RIF”). At the time of the verdict, press coverage speculated that the multimillion dollar verdict was roughly five times more than any prior award, throughout the country, in a single-plaintiff discrimination case. Recently, U.S. District Court Judge Renee Bumb tossed out the $50 million punitive damages award because the plaintiff failed to show that Lockheed Martin’s upper management was involved in or indifferent to the discriminatory conduct.
In this eleventh article in the continuing series “The Restricting Covenant,” I discuss the “Restatements of the Law,” which, while not law per se, are important secondary legal sources that should not be overlooked when tackling thorny restrictive covenant disputes.
Relevance of the Restatements in Non-Compete Cases
In many states, decisions regarding the validity and enforceability of non-compete agreements are made pursuant to the “common law.” The common law is a body of law developed over a course of time from judicial decisions and rulings. The Restatements of the Law attempt to “restate,” organize, and explain the common law of the United States. They are organized into 15 different areas of law, including Agency, Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Judgments, Property, Restitution, Torts and Trusts. They are published by the American Law Institute (ALI) and written by professors, judges and private attorneys. Each “statement of law” has a specific section, and each section is accompanied by “Comments,” “Illustrations” (with hypos), and “Reporter’s Notes” (with case citations).
Allegations of sexual misconduct against celebrities and high-profile individuals continue to occupy the national spotlight. State legislators around the country have started to propose new laws which ban confidentiality and nondisclosure provisions in settlement agreements that resolve disputes arising from sexual harassment allegations. As we wrote about in an early blog post, critics of confidentiality provisions claim these clauses enable victimizers to conceal and continue long-running patterns of sexual misconduct, and prevent discussion of the accusations among the victims and co-workers.
We have summarized the proposed legislation here: