Tag: Restrictive Covenants
By Lawrence J. Del Rossi
This is the fourth article in a continuing series, “The Restricting Covenant.” It discusses the concept of protectable “playbooks” in restrictive covenant cases and the individuals that use them to compete.
Let’s Play Ball, but with Restrictions
This year’s NFL Super Bowl LI ended in spectacular fashion when the New England Patriots made an historic comeback to win in overtime against the Atlanta Falcons. After the game, there was much discussion about the Patriots’ unique “playbook,” their coach, and his game strategy for winning the Super Bowl for the fifth time in nine appearances. This discussion led me to the question of whether a sports organization can restrict a coach from leaving one team and coaching another competing team. Can it restrict a departing coach from recruiting athletes for a new team? Can it demand the … Read More »
By Lawrence J. Del Rossi
This is the third article in a continuing series, “The Restricting Covenant.” In restrictive covenant cases, a company’s trade secrets are sometimes referred to as its “secret sauce” or “secret recipe.” The “secret formula” of Coca-Cola soda is an analogy used to help explain the uniqueness of a company’s protectable interest and the need to prevent unauthorized disclosure, misappropriation or unlawful competition. This talk about secret sauces and recipes not only made me hungry, but it also relates to the subject of this article – restrictive covenants, trade secrets and the food and restaurant industry.
What’s in Your Secret Sauce?
Food recipes can constitute trade secrets. In Tavern Restaurant v. Brandow, for example, the Supreme Court of Iowa held that a restaurant had successfully demonstrated at trial that its former manager and his new employer (a competing restaurant) … Read More »
By Lawrence J. Del Rossi
This is the second article in a continuing series, “The Restricting Covenant.” In this article, I discuss a topic that is near and dear to me – my hair and my long-time relationship with my barber. I have used the same barber to cut my hair since high school, even after moving many miles away. I sit in his chair, he cuts my hair with expert precision, and I am a satisfied customer. This got me to think about one of the most basic reasons why employers want to impose non-compete and non-solicitation obligations on their employees – the value and strength of a long-term customer relationship. Courts have long recognized that protecting customer relationships is a legitimate protectable business interest that can support the enforcement of a restrictive covenant if it satisfies standards of “reasonableness.” … Read More »
By Lawrence J. Del Rossi
Restrictive covenants are private agreements that restrict an individual’s business activities within a specific geographic area for a period of time, in return for wages, access to information, or some other type of tangible benefit. Like the spots of a leopard, they come in all shapes and sizes. Their enforceability varies from state to state, from occupation to occupation, and from industry to industry. Many states have quirky or arcane rules or regulations tailored to specific occupations. Some industries have specific rules and practices that dictate the parties’ course of dealing and determine the “reasonableness” of the restrictions. Some employers prefer non-competes, while others prefer non-solicitations or non-disclosures, or some combination of each. In any event, before agreeing to be restricted, or before asking someone to be restricted, this legal landscape should be explored and understood … Read More »
Larry Del Rossi published an article for Today’s General Counsel titled, “Recent Scrutiny of Non-Competes.” Larry provides an overview of non-compete agreements (also known as restrictive covenants) and discusses a recent uptick in government activity that may regulate or challenge private businesses’ use and enforcement of non-competes.
Larry says “one major challenge for national companies is that enforcement of non-competes varies from state to state, so that there is no uniform standard.” In May 2016 the White House issued “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” a document intended to identify areas where implementation and enforcement of non-competes may present issues, put forward a set of best practices, and serve as a call to action for state reform.
Larry advises companies to consider whether all employees within the company should have non-competes, evaluate the scope and structure of … Read More »
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Finally Kills Hope That Magic Words Can Substitute for Valuable Consideration in Exchange for Post-Offer Restrictive Covenants
By Daniel Aiken and Vik Jaitly
To most practitioners, Pennsylvania law governing the consideration required for an employment agreement containing a restrictive covenant (e.g., a non-competition clause or non-solicitation clause) has been simple: (1) if the restrictive covenant is entered at the inception of the employment, the consideration to support the covenant is the award of the position itself; (2) if the restrictive covenant is entered during employment (i.e., post-offer), it is enforceable only if the employee receives new and valuable consideration—that is, some corresponding benefit or a favorable change in employment status. To avoid the need to provide a current employee additional consideration, some employers added magic language to their restrictive covenants, based on a statute from 1927, which arguably made a restrictive covenant enforceable without new consideration.
Specifically, the Uniform Written Obligations Act (“UWOA”) states that a written promise “shall … Read More »
In a world where employee mobility is a business reality, companies should be taking proactive measures to guard trade secrets, retain competitive advantage and be ready for court if it comes to that. Click below to launch a video and hear from Labor & Employment partners Mark Terman and David Woolf on what they, and our other Labor & Employment group lawyers, are doing every day to protect companies.
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 »
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 »
By: David J. Woolf
Perhaps your company has just acquired a new business and wants to put that entity’s employees under a more structured employment arrangement. Or maybe you are just looking to roll out new executive-level agreements within your own company. Whatever the motivation and circumstances, here are ten things to think about in drafting employment agreements that often go overlooked:
Severance – The most common question is the easiest: Are you going to provide severance and, if so, how much? Other details merit consideration though. For example, is death or disability a severance trigger? As part of the package, do you want to provide things like medical benefit continuation, prorated bonus, equity vesting acceleration, extension of the option exercise period, or other benefits? Whatever you do, the employer will want to make sure that the executive has to execute a release … Read More »