What Happens at Work Stays at Work – The California Employer’s Approach To A National Program for Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secret Protection
Kate Gold, Mark Terman and Adam Thurston, partners in the firm’s Los Angeles office, recently presented to the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel a program titled “What Happens at Work Stays at Work – The California Employer’s Approach To A National Program for Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secret Protection”.
The presentation, which was broadcast to in-house counsel viewing in three separate locations spread out around southern California, first looked at the California landscape, giving a refresher and update on non-competition agreements, customer and employee non-solicitation, identifying and pleading trade secrets and misappropriation.
The presentation then looked at considerations for a multi-jurisdictional approach to trade secret protection, including best practices for effective corporate policies and confidentiality and property protection agreements.
The presentation concluded by addressing social media in a trade secret protection program, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and BYOD, and making … Read More »
By: Meredith R. Murphy
New Jersey’s Appellate Division has rejected two Atlantic City nightclub workers’ attempts to artfully plead their way around preemption under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) by alleging a whistleblower claim under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA). The case was brought by two “Tipped Floor Euros,” i.e., alcoholic beverage servers, who alleged retaliation and constructive discharge following their complaints regarding tip-pooling, wage payments and being forced to perform duties prohibited by the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The case is O’Donnell v. Nightlife, et al. (April 17, 2014).
In rejecting the plaintiffs’ CEPA claims, the Appellate Division took a narrow view of the whistleblower statute, citing the standard that the conduct complained of must “pose a threat of public harm, not merely private harm or harm only to the aggrieved employee.” … Read More »
By: DeMaris E. Trapp
On January 20, 2014, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed into effect an amendment to the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance: Protections Against Unlawful Discrimination that expressly includes pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition among those categories protected from unlawful discrimination.
The city law covers employers who do business in Philadelphia through employees or who employ one or more employees. Before this amendment, employers’ obligations under city, state, and federal antidiscrimination laws only required them to treat employees with pregnancy-related issues no worse than any other disabled employee with respect to accommodations. Now employers are not only prohibited from denying or interfering with an individual’s employment opportunities on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, but employers also are required to make reasonable accommodations on these bases to an employee who requests it. The legislation’s non-exhaustive examples … Read More »
Editor’s Note: The following post by Alexis Burgess, Associate in the Los Angeles office, appears in the latest issue of the California HR Newsletter. To sign-up to receive the California HR Newsletter click here.
Supreme Court Expands Scope of Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protections
The Issue: My company is not publicly traded, but provides services to companies that are. Do Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protections extend to our employees?
The Solution: Yes.
Analysis: Enacted in the wake of the Enron and Worldcom scandals, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act imposes increased reporting standards on publicly-traded companies and the outside accountants, consultants, and lawyers supporting them. Section 1514A prohibits public companies, or their contractors or agents, from using adverse employment action, threat, or harassment to retaliate against “an employee” who blows the whistle (internally or externally) on perceived violations of the Act, SEC regulation, or any other federal law relating to shareholder fraud. Though civil remedies are … Read More »
Daughter’s Facebook Post Leads to Costly Breach by Father of a Confidentiality Clause in His Settlement Agreement With Former Employer
By: Lawrence J. Del Rossi
A recent decision by a Florida appeals court, Gulliver Schools, Inc. v. Snay, stands as a stark reminder of the perils of trying to maintain confidentiality in the age of social media where news can travel faster than the speed of sound and inadvertent dissemination of information that is intended to be “confidential” can be difficult, if not impossible, to prevent.
Patrick Snay sued his former employer, Gulliver Schools, for age discrimination and retaliation under the Florida Civil Rights Act after his contract as the school’s headmaster was not renewed. The parties reached a settlement in the amount of $150,000 ($10,000 in back pay, $80,000 for non-wage damages, and $60,000 in attorney’s fees), and agreed that the “existence or terms” of the agreement were to be kept strictly confidential. The confidentiality provision prohibited Snay from “directly or indirectly” disclosing … Read More »
Proposed California Paid Sick Leave Law Will Require Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave to Employees
By: Pascal Benyamini
Are you a California employer currently providing paid sick leave to your employees? You may soon have to! California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) recently introduced legislation (Bill AB1522) approved by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee requiring employers in the State of California to provide their employees with paid sick leave.
This bill would enact the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 to provide, among other things, that an employee who works in California for 7 or more days in a calendar year is entitled to paid sick days to be accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked. An employee would be entitled to use accrued sick days beginning on the 90th calendar day of employment. And employers would be subject to statutory penalties as well as lawsuits, including … Read More »
Just Don’t Ask: With The Fair Chance Ordinance, San Francisco Joins A Growing Number Of Jurisdictions That Restrict Employers’ Pre-Hire Inquiries About Applicants’ Criminal Histories
By Cheryl D. Orr and Philippe A. Lebel
In February 2014, San Francisco joined the growing number of jurisdictions that have enacted so-called “ban the box” laws. Like many of its counterparts, San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance, which will become effective in August 2014, significantly limits employers’ abilities to inquire about and/or consider applicants’ and employees’ criminal records when making employment decisions.
Pursuant to the Ordinance, San Francisco employers are prohibited from asking about applicants’ criminal histories until either (a) after the applicants’ first live interview, or (b) after a conditional offer of employment has been extended. However, the Ordinance places considerable limits on obtaining and using any information obtained. Specifically, employers are prohibited from inquiring about or taking any adverse action against applicants or current employees based on: (a) any arrests not leading to a conviction, except for some unresolved (i.e., … Read More »
Cheryl Orr, partner and co-chair of the Labor & Employment group, and Sarah Millar, partner and vice chair of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation group, were both quoted in InsideCounsel’s April 2014 Labor & Employment Digest. The monthly digest “brings together the voices of labor & employment and employee benefits lawyers to get their take on the issues shaping the policies of workplace compliance and regulation.” Sarah’s quote looked at how employers can avoid the challenges presented by tobacco cessation programs and Cheryl’s looked at how the anti-drug policies of companies located in states where marijuana is now legal for medical or recreational use are affected. Both quotes are below in their entirety.
Avoid the challenges of tobacco cessation programs
“Tobacco cessation programs structured outside a health plan can be problematic. Some state laws prevent employers from making hiring and firing decisions … Read More »
By: Mark D. Nelson
On March 26, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board’s Regional Director (RD) in Chicago ruled that Northwestern University’s football players who receive scholarships are “employees” under the National Labor Relations Act and have the right to form a union. The potential implications of this ruling are significant. If the decision is not overturned by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) or a federal court, every private college and university in the country that has scholarship athletes could face the unionization of athletes in sports that generate significant revenue. Public universities could also be affected under state labor laws.
The RD found that the university, through the football program, exerts significant control over the football players. During the six-week training camp immediately before the season, athletes are given daily itineraries that dictate football-related activities for that day. During training camp, the … Read More »