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Employee Non-Competes and Other Restrictive Covenants in Georgia   Leave a comment

It used to be that Georgia took a dim view of employee non-competes, and courts happily threw them out for technical drafting issues the vast majority of the time.  This regime, which persisted up until May of 2011, is now wistfully referred to in employment law circles as “the old law”.  The old law has been displaced by the new Georgia Restrictive Covenant Act, a statute intended to make non-competes easier to draft, easier to enforce and thus secure an additional measure of competitiveness for Georgia employers.  However, the era of the Restrictive Covenant Act is riddled with problems for both employers and employees.

It’s been over four years since the RCA become law, and still, not one case to guide us on its biggest question mark – what will courts do with sloppily-drafted, or overly-broad, non-competes? Will they throw them out, along with other covenants in an employment agreement? Or will they exercise their discretion to “blue-pencil” or “modify” an offending non-compete? We simply don’t know, and nobody wants to be the guinea pig.  Therefore, when a sales manager or a junior engineer comes to us for advice on a document that purports to keep him out of his industry, worldwide, for three years, it can be difficult to give them peace of mind.  Likewise, when a company calls us to ask if they can hire a CFO under an overreaching non-compete, it can be difficult to give a clear green light.  Thanks a lot, RCA – at least under the old law, we knew where we stood – or at least, we knew where we stood more often.  Under the RCA, we won’t know exactly where we stand until the parties have spent $100,000 on litigation.

It’s not all doom and gloom.  We have learned a few things in this past four-and-a-half frustrating years.  Non-competes can often be navigated and negotiated.  They cannot, however, be ignored.  If you have a non-compete and want to know what it means, or you are thinking about signing one, call an experienced employment lawyer for advice.  Often, there are effective damage-control strategies at their fingertips.

To learn more, please contact us via our website or call us at 770-822-0900.


Posted December 22, 2016 by Eadaoin Waller, Esq. in Business Law

Are you ready for December 1?   Leave a comment

It’s no secret, by now, that December 1 will usher in the application of the “Final Rule” – the increase of the minimum salary payable to “exempt” employees from $455 per week to $913 per week.

In addition to changing the manner in which employees are managed, compensated and asked to track their time, the impending effectiveness of the Final Rule raises a myriad of other questions related to classification: are the employees who have historically been treated as exempt, really exempt? Even if their salaries are raised to the requisite $47,476, do their duties meet the requirements of an executive, administrative, professional or other exemption?  How does this affect commissioned employees? Does this affect independent contractors in any way?

Certain employees who have never been considered remotely eligible for overtime, now find their status thrown into question – in particular, in our experience, teachers, engineers and administrative employees – and the answers are a lot muddier than employers think.

Employees are more aware of their wage and hour rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as modified by the Final Rule, than ever before – thanks to the publicity efforts of the Department of Labor and the media.  Be sure to conduct a legal audit of your employees’ positions and compensation completed in advance of December 1, and correct any compliance issues by that date.  If there is a silver lining to the Final Rule, it is that the change in the law gives great cover for correcting a multitude of ills.

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