In reaction to the recent proliferation of non-compete agreements, courts and legislatures are increasingly trying to find ways to limit their use. The latest attempt is at the federal congressional level. This week, Florida Senator Marco Rubio introduced the “Freedom to Compete Act” aimed at prohibiting non-compete agreements for lower wage workers. The Act would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to ban non-competes for most non-exempt workers.
Tag: Joel O’Malley
A little over a year ago, three major employers—T-Mobile, Amazon, and Cox Communications—were sued for allegedly discriminating on the basis of age in the way they recruited new employees via Facebook. The plaintiffs’ lawyers targeted not only these three employers but also asserted claims against a “defendant class” of every employer that used age restrictions in their recruiting advertisements on Facebook. They also sent demand letters to scores of employers and filed charges of discrimination against yet more. Though the lawsuit and charge investigations are ongoing, the plaintiffs’ lawyers are now sending a new wave of demands to more employers and filing more charges of discrimination with the EEOC and state enforcement agencies. Employers who have not yet been targeted should take steps now to prepare.
Your employee quits without notice or explanation. You discover that she moved to a competitor in violation of her non-compete agreement, and what’s worse, days before her resignation, she downloaded your trade secrets onto a thumb drive. You file suit and request an immediate injunction from the court. The last thing you expect is a counter-suit and motion to dismiss claiming you have interfered with the employee’s free speech rights. But that aggressive defense to restrictive covenant and trade secret litigation is becoming far more prevalent. Employers should be prepared for this defense when considering how to enforce their rights against former employees.
A California employer that does not pay its employees all required wages upon termination is liable for both the underpayment of wages and, if the failure to pay is “willful,” a “waiting time” penalty of up to 30 days’ wages. This is one of the ways a California wage-and-hour violation can become a very expensive mistake.
In January 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) communicated that it would ramp-up criminal enforcement actions against companies that have no-poaching agreements, which in past years have been seen by the DOJ as a hall-pass allowing employers to avoid competing for workers, stifle demand in a market, and keep wages lower. A recent settlement with three employers, however, has reinforced the notion that not all no-poaching agreements are the same and helped define which kinds of no-poaching agreements may or may not lead to civil or criminal liability.
Joel O'Malley's article, "What makes Minnesota tip-pooling laws unique*," was published on Minnesota Lawyer. In the article, Joel outlines the complex laws leading to the large settlement Surly Brewing Co. recently paid in the tip-pooling lawsuit.
Are Your Social Media Recruitment Practices Discriminatory? Employers Facing Age Discrimination Class Actions
Plaintiffs’ lawyers currently are threatening employers that recruit new employees via social platforms—Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.—with age discrimination class action lawsuits. The plaintiffs’ lawyers aggressively demand an immediate response to their letter, production of information related to the online recruitment efforts, and a quick resolution of their alleged claims (i.e., pay a substantial settlement). Class-wide liability, were the claims to be successful, could be substantial, so this issue warrants immediate attention even if you have not yet been threatened with litigation. We have analyzed the possible legal claims and have developed a method to assess an employer’s potential liability.
Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium presents a great opportunity for Minneapolis restaurateurs to generate significant income from parties hosted before and during the big game. With that opportunity, though, comes the challenge of complying with Minnesota’s unique tip-pooling statute—unlike federal laws and those of other states—and avoiding the potential for greater liability. Restaurants planning Super Bowl parties should prepare now to meet the law’s requirements and avoid litigation after the Super Bowl LII victor is crowned.
The Scenario: Your company has a great applicant for a job opening, Jane, but you learn during the interview process that Jane signed a non-compete agreement with her current employer. You can quickly spot some reasons why the non-compete is unenforceable. You acknowledge there is some risk in hiring Jane, though, including that her current employer may sue Jane for breaching the contract and your company for interfering with her contract—a tortious interference claim. So, now what? Setting aside Jane and her own legal risks, what specific steps should you take to set up your best defense to a claim that your company interfered with Jane’s contract?
Minnesota restaurateurs face a unique state tip statute that makes it very difficult to ensure that tips can be pooled and divided among servers and non-servers.
Many non-California employers view the enactment of California Labor Code Section 925 as destroying any possibility of avoiding the state’s restrictive covenants laws for California-based employees. But there is hope! With creative legal counsel, employers can draft agreements that do not implicate the statute and avoid its application in litigation.
With more than 13 years as a litigator, O’Malley advises clients in all types of employment and wage-and-hour litigation, with extensive experience litigating in California.