The United States Supreme Court has granted consolidated review of three cases to determine whether arbitration agreements that waive employees’ rights to participate in a class action lawsuit against their employer are unlawful. The Court’s decision to address the uncertainty surrounding class action waivers of employment claims follows a circuit split last year in which the Fifth and Eighth circuits upheld such waivers and the Seventh and Ninth circuits found that such waivers violate the National Labor Relations Act. Given the increasingly widespread use of class action waivers by employers to stem costly class and collective actions, the high court’s ruling is likely to have a significant nationwide impact.
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Government agencies like the SEC are challenging what have long been standard provisions in separation agreements. Hunton & Williams LLP partners Kevin White and Emily Burkhardt Vicente discuss those challenges and provide tips for companies on revising their standard agreements to mitigate against them.
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Government agencies like the SEC are challenging what have long been standard provisions in separation agreements. Hunton & Williams LLP partners Kevin White and Emily Burkhardt Vicente discuss those challenges and provide tips for companies on revising their standard agreements to mitigate against them.
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In a decision that could trigger similar action in multiple states, the Fifth Circuit recently decided that an employee could bring a wrongful-termination claim in Mississippi after being terminated for having a gun in his truck, which was parked on company property. Following the Mississippi Supreme Court’s decision on referral, the Fifth Circuit held that a Mississippi statute—which prohibits employers from establishing, maintaining, or enforcing policies that prohibit an employees from storing a firearm in a vehicle on company property and from taking action against an employee who violates that policy—creates an exception to the state’s employment-at-will doctrine.
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In Bodine v. Cook’s Pest Control Inc., No. 15-13233, 2016 WL 4056031 (11th Cir. July 29, 2016), the Eleventh Circuit held that a forced-arbitration agreement in an employment contract is enforceable, despite the fact that certain provisions of the arbitration agreement violated the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”).
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The newly-enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) represents a significant new weapon for companies to prosecute trade secret violations. Among other features, the DTSA creates a federal cause of action for theft of trade secrets and a provision for judicial ex parte seizure of stolen property, double damages, and attorneys’ fees. Please join Hunton & Williams LLP for a complimentary webinar on August 3, 2016, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (EDT) that will cover the important aspects of the law, including the language that needs to be inserted into employment and confidentiality/non-disclosure agreements to ensure your company can take full advantage of the law.
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Yesterday, John Smith, the president of ABC Bank, announced to the board of directors that he intended to resign to go work for XYZ Bank, a local competitor. Smith also intends to take some of the bank’s most important customers, and several top officers with him to XYZ Bank. Upset and panicked, the chair of the board contacted the bank’s employment attorney to determine what could be done to stop the president from leaving and taking customers and employees with him. “Send me a copy of John’s employment agreement,” the lawyer said. “Employment agreement? The board did not think John needed one. We never imagined he would quit.”
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With its May 26 Lewis v. Epic-Systems Corp. decision, the Seventh Circuit became the first circuit to back the reasoning in D.R. Horton, Inc., 357 NLRB No. 184 (2012), and held that a mandatory arbitration agreement prohibiting employees from bringing class or collective actions against their employer violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This decision creates a circuit split regarding the enforceability of arbitration agreements with class action waivers in the employment context, and the issue is now ripe for potential Supreme Court review.
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