Category: Litigation Issues

Question #273: Crafting a Concrete Non-Compete

Question: Our company uses non-compete and non-solicit agreements that bar former employees from having contact with any client of our company after they leave. One former employee who recently left is now claiming the agreement is invalid because it is “overly broad” in that it bars him from soliciting not only those clients of ours he used to work with,...

Quirky Question #268: E-Sign Away!

Question: We have our electronic handbook and arbitration agreement online, and all employees sign both electronically.  I saw a news blurb that a California court last year refused to enforce an arbitration agreement that was electronically signed.  Can’t we use electronic signatures in California?

Quirky Question #200, Reporting Payments Under Settlement Agreements

Quirky Question #200, Reporting Payments Under Settlement Agreements

Question: We try and settle threatened lawsuits with lump sum settlements which include wages, tort damages, reimbursement of medical costs and attorneys’ fees. We pay the lump sum to the employees’ attorneys (Trust fund), issue a 1099 to the employee for the amounts paid, not including attorney fees, and a 1099 to the attorney for the attorney fees. We require...

Quirky Question # 196, Obligation to Indemnify Executive Accused of Criminal Conduct

Quirky Question # 196, Obligation to Indemnify Executive Accused of Criminal Conduct

Question: I am the general counsel of a corporation in the medical device industry. Our company has its corporate headquarters in Minnesota, but we are incorporated in Delaware and have operations in 30 of the 50 states. Recently, I received a grand jury subpoena to produce documents — and learned that the Food and Drug Administration, the FBI, and the...

Quirky Question # 195, Uniform Policies for Nationwide Employer — Which State’s Law Applies?

Quirky Question # 195, Uniform Policies for Nationwide Employer — Which State’s Law Applies?

Question: Our company does business in all 50 states. To the greatest extent possible, we like to have uniform employment policies for our employees, wherever they may be located. As you know, this goal is frustrated somewhat by the differences among state employment laws. We have been considering using a standard employment agreement for all of our exempt employees. Our...

Quirky Question # 167; Who Has the Burden of Proof When Terminating an Executive For Cause?

Quirky Question # 167; Who Has the Burden of Proof When Terminating an Executive For Cause?

Question: Our company is considering terminating a C-level executive for cause pursuant to a provision in his employment agreement. I mentioned this to a friend of mine who is an attorney and she said the company will be obligated to prove our actions were justified. This does not make sense to me. I thought that, like nearly all plaintiffs, if...

Quirky Question # 163, Accessing Mental Health Records in a Physical Disability Case

Quirky Question # 163, Accessing Mental Health Records in a Physical Disability Case

Question: One of our employees recently claimed that he is entitled to a reasonable accommodation of his physical disability (a serious back problem). We were unable to work out an accommodation for the employee (we probably did not do as much as we should have during the negotiation phase) and we terminated his employment. He then sued us under the...

Quirky Question # 159, Non-Competes and Choice of Law Provisions

Quirky Question # 159, Non-Competes and Choice of Law Provisions

Question: Our company’s headquarters is located in Seattle, Washington.  We want to hire someone to start up our company’s new location in another state.  Because of the competitiveness of our industry, we would like our new employee to sign a non-compete agreement applying Washington law.  Although we are familiar with the non-compete laws in Washington, we are unsure what the law...

Deposing a Company’s CEO, Quirky Question # 157

Deposing a Company’s CEO, Quirky Question # 157

Question: An employee recently filed a Charge of Sex Discrimination against our company, with both the EEOC and the parallel state agency. Her lawyers want to depose our company’s CEO. This seems to be little more than a tactical ploy to force our company to expend undue time and resources on this dispute. We have more than 10,000 employees. Will...