Smooth Transitions

Smooth Transitions

Addressing the Legal issues arising from the departure of employees & Business breakups

Category Archives: Hiring and Firing

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Loose Lips Sink Ships

Posted in Hiring and Firing, HR Issues, Trade Secrets
  At the outset of most employment relationships, the employer will have an employee sign a litany of documents ranging from a IRS form W4 to a non-compete agreement.  Buried within those documents is usually some form of a confidentiality agreement.  Within the agreement the employee agrees not to share any of the employer’s confidential… Continue Reading

Circumstantial Evidence – Employment Claims Alive and Well in Texas

Posted in Age Discrimination, Channel 11, Dallas, EEO Claims, Hiring and Firing, HR Issues, Texas, Uncategorized, Whataburger
Yesterday’s Dallas Morning News homepage had not 1 but 2 employment related cases.  Texas icon Whataburger has been sued for alleged discriminatory hiring practices and CBS 11 has been sued for violating the ADEA when it chose to hire a younger female traffic reporter over 44 year old Tammy Dombeck.  Both cases were filed by the… Continue Reading

The Non-Compete Buyout

Posted in Hiring and Firing, HR Issues, Injunction, Non-Compete Agreements, Non-Solicitation Agreements, Trade Secrets
  One option we’ve never spent much time discussing here as it relates to non-competes is the buyout option – on both sides.  Buying out a non-compete is neither new nor novel.  Physician non-competes in Texas require that the non-compete provision include a buyout option.   The statute provides: the covenant must provide for a… Continue Reading

How to Handle a Firing

Posted in Hiring and Firing, HR Issues, Uncategorized
  From an employer’s perspective the firing of an employee is hopefully the culmination of a deliberative process and compliance with the company’s policies and procedures.  It is the ultimate adverse employment action and everything that is said and done may be put under the microscope by an employee’s lawyer, EEOC, or Texas Commission on… Continue Reading

RG3 and the Employee Departure

Posted in Hiring and Firing, HR Issues
A few weeks ago Washington Quarterback Robert Griffin III left the Washington lockeroom for what all believe was the last time.  RG3, a Heisman winner at Baylor, will likely be cut.  It was only a couple of seasons ago that Washington fans believed he was their football saivor as he led them to a division… Continue Reading

Sarkisian Sues USC

Posted in Hiring and Firing, HR Issues, Uncategorized
  A few weeks ago we discussed the firing of former USC football coach Steve Sarkisian.  Since then Sarkisan has filed his own lawsuit in California state court.  Deadspin has a great breakdown of the lawsuit and the lawsuit itself.  Sarkisian asserts he is an alcholic and USC failed to work with him with respect… Continue Reading

Breaking Down the Texas Non-Compete Case

Posted in Executive Compensation, Hiring and Firing, Injunction, Non-Compete Agreements, Non-Solicitation Agreements, Recent Cases
  There is a good article from the Houston Chronicle this week outlining a non-compete dispute between two former compensation consultants and their former employer.  The facts are pretty standard fare for this type of dispute: professionals have some type of non-compete agreement with former employer; former employer finds out professionals are leaving in violation… Continue Reading

Firing Based on Weight

Posted in Hiring and Firing
                         A few weeks ago we discussed a Texas employer hiring new employees based upon their Body Mass Index.  The dangers of considering weight in employment decisions were recently exemplified in a press release from the EEOC.  In that release, it was announced that a treatment facility for chemically dependent women and children was paying $125,000 to… Continue Reading

Is Mike Leach’s lawsuit done?

Posted in Hiring and Firing
Texas Tech won  its appeal against Mike Leach and his claims for millions of dollars in compensation are gone.  The Seventh Court of Appeals, based in Amarillo,  recently took up Texas Tech’s claim of sovereign immunity and reversed the  trial court, finding in Tech’s favor.  The Court ruled in its opinion that Leach cannot maintain a breach of contract claim against the… Continue Reading

Interview Questions – Make them “Legal”

Posted in Hiring and Firing
                                        Here is a link to an article discussing some "different" questions asked during interviews this past year. Some  favorites: "There are three boxes, one contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been incorrectly labeled such that no label identifies the actual contents of the… Continue Reading

Double Take – Tech giants agree to poach employees.

Posted in Hiring and Firing
                                               A while back we discussed the DOJ’s investigation into allegations that technology giants in Silicon Valley were effectively preventing computer programmers from making job changes by agreeing not to poach their competitors’ employees. Last week the DOJ filed a lawsuit along with a proposed settlement with Apple Inc., Adobe Systems Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp.,… Continue Reading

Fantasy Football Firing

Posted in Hiring and Firing
                                       It’s that time of year – the NFL season is drawing to a close and fantasy football leagues are in the midst of the playoffs.  Fantasy leagues are as popular as ever and cover all sports, not just football.  Fantasy leagues based on the NFL are by far the most popular and in many instances… Continue Reading

Did Google/Microsoft agree not to poach employees?

Posted in Hiring and Firing
  High-tech companies have been vigorous in their attempts to keep employees from departing to competitors as evidenced by the Mark Papermaster lawsuit filed by IBM and Steven Johnson case.  According to some reports, Google and Microsoft entered into an unofficial agreement not to poach each others’ employees.  Essentially, neither company would actively pursue or recruit… Continue Reading

Altering At-Will Employment In Texas? Good Luck.

Posted in Hiring and Firing
                                       All employment relationships in Texas are presumed to be at-will, meaning an employer can fire an employee with or without cause. There are of course, exceptions.   Rebutting the presumption of at-will employment is an uphill battle.  In Cahak v. Rehab Care Group, Inc., a 2008 Waco Court of Appeals case, the  Court affirmed a… Continue Reading

The Office: Michael Scott Shows How Not to Compete

Posted in Hiring and Firing, HR Issues, Non-Compete Agreements
                                        Two weeks ago on the Office, Michael Scott gave Dunder Mifflin notice of his  resignation. Upon return to Scranton, Michael hatched a plan to start Michael Scott Paper Company and started with some due diligence (I apologize for the advertisement but NBC has to pay the bills): Michael then asked most of the Scranton staff to come to… Continue Reading

Prospective Employees with Non-Competes

Posted in Hiring and Firing, Non-Compete Agreements, Non-Solicitation Agreements
With employers aggressively protecting customers and trade-secrets with non-compete agreements,  placement and human resource professionals will continue to encounter potential candidates/employees that have non-compete agreements and other restrictive covenants.    Every employment interview should include exploration into these issues.  Below are some suggested questions/considerations: Has the candidate signed a non-compete, non-solicitation, or non-disclosure agreement?  If so, request… Continue Reading

Clients, Competitors, and Employers are Watching Facebook

Posted in Hiring and Firing, Placement Professionals, Social Networking
Chances are you or someone you know is on Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn. Google yourself and you’ll probably see a LinkedIn or Facebook biography. Potential employers and recruiters will see the same information during the hiring process. When I prepare for a deposition I always do basic Internet research on a witness. It’s probably a… Continue Reading

Nuts and Bolts : Non-Solicitation vs. Non-Compete

Posted in Hiring and Firing
Employers frequently require employees to enter into non-compete agreements, non-solicitation agreements, or a combination of both in order to protect trade-secrets and other valuable information. Non-Solicitation Example: Employee agrees that for a period of one year after the termination of his employment, whether voluntary or involuntary, he will not directly or indirectly call upon, solicit,… Continue Reading