A recent Delaware Chancery Court opinion has elucidated Delaware’s approach to judicially modifying, or “blue-penciling,” overly broad noncompete agreements and deferring to parties’ choice of law provisions. The case, FP UC Holdings, LLC, et al. v. James W. Hamilton, Jr., et al., C.A. No. 2019-1029-JRS (Del Ch. Mar. 27, 2020), highlights the importance of drafting well-tailored restrictive covenants, and shows that even in Delaware – where employers often have been reassured by the safe harbor of courts’ relative willingness to blue-pencil problematic agreements and apply Delaware law to fact patterns that have developed in other states – employers must make careful drafting and choice of law decisions. It also emphasizes that if an employer’s intent is to litigate in Delaware, the employer should do so from the beginning, without acquiescing to another court’s jurisdiction.
- 3/27/2020: Governor Wolf has amended his order to include residents of Berks, Butler, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne, Pike, Wayne, Westmoreland, and York Counties. The amended order is available here.
- 3/25/2020: Governor Wolf has amended his order to include residents of Northampton and Lehigh Counties. The amended order is available here.
- 3/24/2020: Governor Wolf has amended his order to include residents of Erie County, in addition to the seven counties previously impacted. The amended order is available here.
Effective Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:00 p.m., residents in Philadelphia, Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, and Montgomery counties are required “to stay at home except as needed to access, support or provide life-sustaining business, emergency or government services.” Residents are permitted to “engage in outdoor activities,” but gatherings are prohibited, and anyone leaving home must practice social distancing and other mitigation efforts.
On Sunday, March 22, 2020, Mayor Jim Kenney followed several large American cities and issued a “stay at home” Order for the City of Philadelphia, effective beginning Monday, March 23 at 8:00 a.m.
- 3/20/2020: The Wolf administration has updated the list of what it deems a “life sustaining” business. The updated list is here. Business now identified as life sustaining that were not previously included include: forestry, logging, and support activities; mining (including coal and metal ore mining) and support activities; specialty food stores; insurance carriers and related activities (except in-person sales brokerage); insurance and employee benefit funds; accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll; traveler accommodation; and dry cleaning and laundry services. Businesses that were previously designated as “life sustaining” but no longer carry that designation (and therefore must close in-person facilities) include beer, wine, and liquor stores (except beer distributors) and civic and social organizations. The governor’s press release announcing the updates is here. The administration has made clear that this is “an evolving situation and decisions will continue to be made and revisited as needed.”
- 3/20/2020: Businesses seeking an exemption to the closure Order may do so via this website. Businesses are required to provide a justification as to why the operation is “life-sustaining,” and must state the number of employees required to be on-site to perform the “critical work.” Businesses must also describe plans to comply with CDC guidelines and mitigation efforts.
- 3/21/2020: Governor Wolf amended the enforcement deadline from his original shutdown Order. Enforcement on non-compliant businesses will begin Monday, March 23 at 8:00 a.m., and not on Saturday, March 21, as previously ordered.
- 3/21/2020: The Department of Community and Economic Development has issued a set of Frequently Asked Questions and responses to provide additional guidance regarding Governor Wolf’s shutdown Order. The FAQ responses indicate that authorities should make compliance determinations based on the operations of a particular facility, rather than the business as a whole. For example, construction businesses (which are identified as non-“life sustaining”) may continue working on road repair and similar emergency efforts, but must suspend other activities that are not “clearly authorized” as life sustaining. Further, in response to a question about whether businesses may “maintain limited in-person essential personnel for security, processing of essential functions, or to maintain compliance with federal, state or local regulatory requirements,” the DCED states that businesses suspending physical operations pursuant to the Order “must limit on-site personnel to maintain critical functions,” while following social distancing and other mitigation guidelines. The FAQ responses also indicate that enforcement “should be prioritized to focus on businesses where people congregate,” and that although enforcement measures are within the discretion of the state or local agency, the administration expects that enforcement will be progressive, and will start first “with a warning to any suspected violator.” The FAQ responses also clarify that hotels and motels, as well as local governments and municipalities, are not required to cease physical operations.
On Thursday, March 19, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered all Pennsylvania businesses that are not “life sustaining” to shut down physical operations by Saturday, March 21 at 12:01 a.m. A copy of the Order is here. Such business may continue to operate on a virtual or telework basis, “so long as social distancing and other mitigation measures are followed.”
The Order specifically exempts “life sustaining businesses,” which may remain open subject to those businesses undertaking the same social distancing and mitigation measures. Similarly, the Order allows “businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service” to continue operations, subject to the same social distancing and mitigation measures. The Order incorporates a list of life and non-life sustaining businesses, which can be found here.
As we previously reported, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) now requires employers to disclose equal pay data on its Employer Information Report (EEO-1). The equal pay data, otherwise known as “Component 2” of the EEO-1, has been the subject of ongoing litigation. Most recently, the EEOC requested court approval to extend the deadline for employers to report Component 2 data until September 30, 2019—later than the deadline for other EEO-1 data, which is due May 31, 2019. Several organizations supporting equal pay initiatives had argued that the agency should collect the data by May 31, but the agency told the court that the May 31 deadline was not feasible.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) revised Employer Information Report (EEO-1) is now open via the EEOC’s online portal. As we previously reported, the revised EEO-1 now requires employers to aggregate W-2 wages and hours worked by job category, race, sex, and ethnicity. The new requirements were stayed in 2017, but a federal judge lifted that stay on March 4, 2019.
In a new filing on April 3, 2019, the EEOC requested court approval to extend the deadline for reporting pay data until September 30, 2019—later than the current EEO-1 deadline of May 31, 2019. In making its request, the EEOC noted that it needs additional time “in order to accommodate the significant practical challenges” related to collecting the pay information. The agency support the request with an affidavit from its recently appointed Chief Data Officer, Samuel Christopher Haffer.
Judge Tanya S. Chutkan is expected to rule on the agency’s request in the coming weeks. Subscribe to LaborSphere for updates.