The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that governs things like the minimum wages employees can be paid, as well as when they should be paid overtime and how much they should be paid for overtime. States also have their own labor laws to govern minimum wage and overtime, among other issues, for all employees working within the state.
In addition to getting paid for all the hours they spend working, many employees expect to receive pay for a certain amount of time off and sometimes bonuses. Paid time off usually includes holidays that the employer is closed, but is still paying the employee. Many employers also give their workers a certain number of sick days or vacation days (sometimes both) for which the employee can be paid in a calendar year. This is all time for which employees can reasonably expect to be paid, and in some cases, the law requires them to be paid for this time. Continue reading
Many clients come to us with misunderstandings with regard to non-compete agreements which are often called covenants not to compete. Some clients believe because an employee signed the agreement it is an iron glad and enforceable agreement no matter how broad and restrictive the terms of the agreement. Some employees come in with the belief that the agreements can never be enforced against them. So when are these agreements enforceable? It depends on many factors.
Each state has its own set of rules but there are many similarities in those states that enforce such agreement. In California, however, they are invalid and against policy. Illinois courts, on the other hand, enforce such agreements when they are:
- In writing;
- Made part of the employment contract;
- Supported by valid consideration such as two years of employment or other payments;
- Reasonable as to time and territory; and
- Designed to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests.
The first two requirements are fairly self-explanatory. The last three, however, require analysis and review of the facts and circumstances.
Supported by valid consideration:
Consideration is a concept that applies to all kinds contracts, not simply to non-compete agreements. Contracting party must each obtain some consideration or benefit for entering into the contract. The contract must provide to each party a benefit to which that party would not be entitled if the party had not entered into the contract. With non-compete agreements, the affected employee might receive a new job, a promotion, a raise or a bonus for his or her agreement to enter into a non-compete or work for the employer for a significant period such as two years after entering into the agreement. In summary, for an employee to be bound that employee has to obtain some real benefit for entering into the agreement or work a long time for the company after signing the agreement.
Reasonable as to time and territory:
Non-compete agreements cannot usually be unlimited when it comes to time and territory. In other words, a business cannot subject former employees to an agreement with restricts them from competing everywhere, forever. Determining what is reasonable however depends on many circumstances.
Designed to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests:
Courts will only enforce restrictions on an individual’s right to work when the employer can show that those restrictions protect a legitimate business interest. Such interests can be protecting client relationships and confidential or secret information that provides a competitive advantage and was developed at substantial cost. In crafting covenants not to compete, employers should avoid restricting employees more than is needed to protect legitimate interests and the substantial investment they have made in developing competitive advantages for their businesses.
The truth is that many courts do not like to enforce covenants not to compete unless they are properly tailored and do like to put people out of work.
Hiring part-time employees can be a great way for businesses to fill in the gaps in their employee schedule while saving money. It can also be beneficial for employees looking for flexible hours. On the other hand, part-time employees are often left without the benefits of full-time employees, including health insurance and vacation time. Labor law generally requires an employee to work at least 20 hours per week before she is entitled to access to her employer’s health insurance or paid vacation time.
Even if an employee is taken on to work full time, the picture is not always rosy. Employees who are paid at least a salary of $23,600 per year and meet certain qualifications can legally be exempted from overtime compensation, even if they work more than forty hours a week.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees can be exempt from overtime if they fit into one of three categories: administrative, executive, and professional. For the administrative category, an employee must perform primarily office work and provide administrative assistance directly to an executive. The executive category includes managers and all employees who spend more than half their time supervising other employees. The professional category is made up of workers whose jobs require a specific set of skills or level of education, including doctors, lawyers, and performers. Continue reading
The following lists some of the key factors to consider as you face business partnership litigation:
• Business Litigation Goals. It is important to consider what you hope to accomplish through partnership litigation. It is important to consider the ideal end result as you evaluate your options and litigation strategies. Unfortunately, the ideal end results often gets lost in the highly-charged emotions of litigation so it is important to set out your litigation goals at the outset and remind yourself of your optimal resolution through the partnership litigation process. Understanding your goals will also help you evaluate potential settlement offers.
• Litigation Strategy. It is important to know where you want to go so that you can then develop a litigation strategy, a legal map of sorts, on how you plan to reach your end goal. A business litigation strategy should be developed in close collaboration with your business litigation lawyer. At DiTommaso-Lubin, our knowledgeable Illinois business litigation attorneys can help you analyze complex legal issues, such as potential violations of fiduciary duties, alleged breach of contracts, available accounting information, and civil procedure requirements, in order to develop the appropriate business litigation game plan.
• Expense of Litigation. There are several factors that affect the cost of business litigation, but you will want to consider the potential legal expenses associated with partnership litigation so that you can evaluate your business litigation options. Continue reading
Many workers have become accustomed to the standard 9-to-5 schedule, in which they work eight hours a day, five days a week. In some parts of the country, that has shifted to ten hours a day, four days out of the week. This gives employees a three-day weekend every week and some studies have shown this schedule actually boosts productivity.
The potential problem this new schedule poses has to do with overtime compensation. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly wages for all time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. The Act does take into account the potential for the four-day workweek, but it has specific requirements for when employees can work ten-hour days without getting paid the proper overtime rate. Continue reading