Employers should always be careful and cognizant of venue provisions in their employment agreements. Many employers will simply include a venue provision making venue mandatory where the home office or headquarters is located, but this doesn’t always make sense in the context of an employment dispute.
Recently, I reviewed a contract which required mandatory venue in the federal court where the company headquarters was located. Employees who would actually sign the agreement were located in a state a thousand miles away. While it’s nice to have venue in your own backyard, that doesn’t always work for enforcement of the agreement.
In the context of most post-employment covenants, like non-competes or non-solicitation agreements, it is much easier to enforce these agreements in a venue where the actual defendant/former employee resides. In many of these cases, the employer will want to obtain equitable relief in the form of a temporary restraining order or injunction preventing the former employee from working or soliciting.
It is much easier to institute and enforce these types of claims in the state or federal court where the actual employee lives, as opposed to one that is many thousands of miles away. In preparing employment agreements, employers should be cognizant of what makes sense in terms of enforcement, if enforcement is a key consideration.