Articles Posted in Employment Contracts

Austin Campbell

Dallas Employment Trial Lawyer Austin Campbell

Summary: This article discusses Texas conflict-of-law rules as they apply to non-compete agreements, and some ways that employers may try to get around those rules. 

Various articles we have published address in general what a non-competition agreement is and what is required for one to be enforceable in Texas.  But with Texas increasingly becoming a hub for large or even multinational companies, it can be much more confusing for workers to figure out what a non-compete their company insists they sign even means.  That is especially true as companies may demand that employment documents be governed by some other state’s laws, or even another country’s.  

Austin Campbell

Dallas Employment Trial Lawyer Austin Campbell

Summary: This article gives a very brief overview of what you can do if you are or were a federal employee, settled an MSPB appeal with the government, and are now concerned it is breaching its agreement. 

Say you’re a federal employee who, unfortunately, had to file an appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”).  Perhaps you were improperly reduced in grade, removed from your position, or you were subjected to a prohibited personnel practice.  A final hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) with the MSPB may be the way to fix the situation.  Other times, before the hearing you and the federal agency you work(ed) for may be able to work out some deal to put an end to the situation, like them reinstating you, paying you lost wages, agreeing not to sabotage your career, or the like.

Paige Melendez

Dallas Employment Lawyer Paige Melendez

For employers and employees alike it is becoming apparent that there is a trend of employees leaving their workplaces. In Texas, the at-will doctrine allows an employee to leave for any reason or no reason, but sometimes resignations can be a bit more complicated. For employees it is complicated because resignations can be and should be used strategically rather than a simple decision to leave a job. To use a resignation strategically, there are a few things to consider and think about before pulling the plug. 

First and foremost, leaving a job can evoke questions about eligibility for unemployment benefits. In Texas, resignations, except for narrow exceptions related to “good cause connected with the work,” can be fatal to an application for unemployment benefits. While every case is different, resignations likely spell the end for unemployment benefit eligibility. Yet, it ultimately comes down to the Texas Workforce Commission’s decision. Therefore, if unemployment benefits are part of the financial planning underpinning a resignation, it is important to keep this in mind.

Austin CampbellIncreasingly, employers in Texas have been inserting what might be called “liquidated damages” clauses into employment agreements like non-competes or severance agreements. At a basic level, a liquidated damages clause is an agreement that a party to a contract will pay a specific amount if they breach some part of the contract.

There is such thing as a proper liquidated damages clause, and there are situations (especially in commercial contracts) where clauses like that are appropriate. However, when used in the employment context often they can be wildly inappropriate, and may even cross the line into being penalty clauses that you might then have to fight to overturn. Employers may even try to demand that you agree that these damages are reasonable and not a penalty, even when that is not true. The purpose of this article is to give employees a basic idea of the things they should look out for—at least, when it comes to “liquidated damages”—before signing a contract with their employer

Generally, in a lawsuit over breach of a contract the party that breached the agreement does not have to pay any more than the amount of harm they actually caused the other side. Usually the parties would need to fight over exactly what that number would be as part of the lawsuit. But in Texas, if that number would be difficult or impossible to estimate, parties to a contract are allowed to agree to a “reasonable forecast” of those damages, just in case one party does breach the agreement. To put it another way, in situations where it would probably be prohibitively expensive or flat out impossible to put an exact dollar value on how much a party would be harmed by a breach of contract, the parties can negotiate “just compensation” ahead of time. A proper liquidated damages clause should make it so the parties do not need to argue over their actual damages at all, rather than piling on top of actual damages.

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