The National Labor Relations Board moved from theory to practice in this administration’s battle against restrictive covenants. Recently, the Regional Director of Region 9 of the National Labor Relations Board filed a consolidated complaint alleging that certain restrictive covenants contained in offer letters and policies in an employee handbook violated the National Labor Relations Act. This complaint is a logicalContinue Reading We’ve Got a Test Case: The NLRB Files its First Complaint Challenging the Validity of Restrictive Covenants
On May 11, 2011, Georgia passed the Restrictive Covenants Act, which made enforcing employee restrictive covenants far easier than it was under Georgia common law. In an odd twist, a law that Georgia intended to make it easier to enforce restrictive covenants has made it more difficult to enforce employee non-solicits. On June 13 2023, in North American Senior Benefits …Continue Reading Georgia Maps Out New Requirement for Employee Non-Solicits
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
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Confidentiality obligations and restrictive covenants are crucial tools employed by organizations to protect sensitive information, trade secrets, and competitive advantages. However, recent state law and regulatory developments and NLRB decisions…Continue Reading Upcoming Webinar! NLRB and Restrictive Covenants: Trends in Employment Confidentiality
Over last week, two seemingly unconnected events happened that impact restrictive covenant and labor law. First, the National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, issued a memorandum opining that certain non-compete agreements may violate the National Labor Relation Act by suppressing workers’ ability to engage in protected concerted activity. Second, the Supreme Court issued the Glacier Northwest, Inc. v. …Continue Reading Did the NLRB Preempt Non-Compete Litigation?
The Board sent shockwaves through employment law in its February 21, 2023, decision in McLaren Macomb, which held that simply offering a draft settlement agreement with broad confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions violated the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). We previously blogged about the McLaren decision and encourage you to read that post for a summary of the decision.
McLaren left unanswered a host of critical questions and, in the month following the decision, employers have not received any further clarity from the Board regarding how this decision will play out in practice. But some clarity—welcome or unwelcome—is coming. At some point this week, General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo plans to release a guidance memo that will elaborate on the Board’s position.Continue Reading NLRB to Release Memo Clarifying Impact of McLaren Macombs on Confidentiality and Non-Disparagement Restrictions
As our colleagues have previously reported in this blog, on January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) concerning its unprecedented effort to ban all non-compete clauses with workers and to preempt state law on the issue. The NPRM followed just one day after the FTC announced that it had reached a consent settlement with three companies for alleged unfair trade practices by imposing overly burdensome non-compete agreements.
Not surprisingly, the NPRM has sparked a surge of commentary in the legal and business communities and immediately courted controversy. The sole Republican member of the FTC, Commissioner Christine S. Wilson, issued a vigorous dissent, arguing:Continue Reading Answering the $296 Billion Question: FTC’s Proposed Rulemaking on Worker Non-Competes Likely to be Found Unconstitutional
The American Intellectual Property Law Association recently completed its Trade Secrets Summit in Miami, Florida. The topics for the conference included:
Cases don’t try very often. Doubly so in trade secret/non-compete litigation. So many of these disputes get resolved at the injunctive relief phase of the proceeding that, when one goes the distance, it is almost always worth peeking under the hood.
In MWK Recruiting, Inc. v. Jowers, No. 1:18-cv-444-RP (W.D. Tex.), a federal district court judge recently entered a judgment for $3.6 million—before fees and costs—against a former external law firm recruiter. The facts are not complex. A recruiter left his employer and joined a competitor. But before the recruiter left his former employer, he began using his personal email for candidate submissions and allegedly laundered six lateral candidates through the founder of his new employer. His former employer sued him and alleged that he misappropriated trade secrets and breached non-compete and non-solicitation covenants in his employment agreement. At trial, the district judge found in the plaintiff/employer’s favor on both claims and entered a $3.6 million damages award, with about $500,000 awarded under the misappropriation claim and $3 million under the breach of contract claim.Continue Reading Lessons from a Staffing Misappropriation and Non-Compete Trial
Everyone generally agrees that people and organizations should be able to protect their proprietary and valuable information. But one area where we’ve seen legislative fretting is when that principle potentially impedes reporting wrongdoing to the government. As we have previously blogged, Congress and many state legislatures are exploring (or, in some cases, already enacted) legislative protections for reporting suspected misconduct to the government. And, at the federal level, Congress enacted the Defend Trade Secrets Act, which provides immunity for the disclosure of a trade secret if made in confidence to an attorney or government official for the purpose of investigating a suspected violation of law.
Continue Reading Recent SEC Order Reiterates Need for Affirmative Whistleblower Exclusion
Last week, in connection with a House Oversight hearing, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation to restrict confidentiality provisions from covering claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. The “Accountability for Workplace Misconduct Act,” H.R. 8146, appears to be a federal effort to expedite the state-level trend to exempt discrimination, harassment, and retaliation information from confidentiality restrictions.
Over the last decade, lawmakers at the state and federal level have introduced and passed legislation designed to limit the reach of confidentiality provisions in certain circumstances. Those modifications include:
Continue Reading House Introduces Legislation Restricting Confidentiality Provisions in Settlement Agreements