Almost all contracts contain “boilerplate” language. You may be tempted to skip over these provisions, assuming they are nothing more than unnecessary legalese. But a recent Seventh Circuit opinion, Engineered Abrasives, Inc. v. American Machine Products & Service, Inc., No. 17-1429, 2018 WL 828211 (7th Cir. Feb. 13, 2018), serves as a reminder to all contracting parties not to disregard any provisions of a contract, no matter how boilerplate, irrelevant, or inconsequential they may seem.
A recent decision from the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District reminds employers of the need to act quickly and thoroughly in investigating potential breaches of employee restrictive covenants and in taking actions to enforce their rights under those agreements.
In Bridgeview Bank Group v. Meyer, 2016 IL App (1st) 160042, the court affirmed the trial court’s denial of an employer’s petition for a temporary restraining order against a former employee. Bridgeview Bank had employed Thomas Meyer as a senior vice president. The bank entered into an employment agreement incorporating non-compete, non-solicitation and non-disclosure provisions at the beginning of the employment relationship.
The Department of Labor’s new guidance about what constitutes a “joint employer” should cause businesses that use staffing agencies or other indirect “employment” structures or relationships to carefully review these arrangements.
Specifically, on Jan. 20, 2016, in a departure from what had been somewhat settled, the DOL issued guidance interpreting “joint employer” expansively, making clear that a business may be held liable for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Migrant & Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) violations committed by a “joint employer.”
While viability of strict ‘two-year rule’ is in question in Illinois, employers should consider alternatives to make sure non-competes are enforced
Some Illinois appellate courts, beginning with Fifield v. Premier Dealers Services, Inc., 2013 IL App. (1st) 120327, have applied a bright line rule requiring two years of continuous at-will employment to support an employee restrictive covenant absent additional consideration. The Illinois Supreme Court has not yet addressed the issue. And a majority (but not all) of the federal courts that have considered the issue have predicted that the Illinois Supreme Court will find there is no bright line rule as to the duration of at-will employment that is sufficient to support the enforcement of a non-compete agreement.
Almost daily, we hear about cyber attacks on big businesses and government agencies. But the attacks are not isolated to the big entities. Your business’s most valuable trade secret information more than likely resides in an electronic database that is vulnerable. Yet probably the greatest threat to that database may come from within: your own employees.
Disputes between members of limited liability companies can get messy fast. A recent decision by the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District illustrates the importance of treating the limited liability company as a separate entity in disputes between members. The attorney-client privilege may hang in the balance.