Business Startup

Legislative Definitions of Social Media for Employment Law Purposes

Six states have now prohibited employers from requesting social media passwords during the hiring process. Bill Carleton, at his blog Counselor @ Law, had a number of attorneys (including myself) grade the various legislative attempts to statutorily define employment law. Take a few minutes to check out Bill’s post, which you can find here.

Thanks to Bill for first compiling the definitions and links in a single document and then compiling the opinions and posting the results on his blog!

Here are the full grades and comments I sent to Bill:

California

As used in this chapter, “social media” means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages,...

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Contracts

Former Amazon Exec Sued For Going to Work for Google

When you sign a non-compete agreement in exchange for $325,000 as part of a severance agreement, you should avoid going to work for your prior employer’s rival (at least for awhile).

Former Amazon executive, Daniel Powers, signed a severance deal that he would not go work for the competition for at least 18 months. In exchange, Powers received $325,000. Rather than avoiding the “competition” and enjoying his severance pay, four months later Powers decided to accept a new job with Google, as the director of cloud platform sales.

While non-competes are not valid in California, the lawsuit that was filed by Amazon on Friday will likely stand as it was filed in Washington’s King County Superior Court. In a similar case, a...

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Business Startup

What Should Your Employee Handbook Include?

An employee handbook can be one of the most important tools you can use to communicate with your employees. A carefully drafted employee handbook will detail your expectations for your employees, as well as what your employees can expect from the company. The handbook should describe your legal obligations as the employer and your employees’ rights. Today’s post details some of the most important sections you should include in your employee handbook.

Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policies As an employer you are required to comply with equal employment opportunity laws, which prohibit discrimination and harassment, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s important to include a section about these laws in your employee handbook to detail how your employees are expected to comply.

The...

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Business Startup

Moore v CAI: Non-Disclosure Agreement May Have Similar Effect to Non-Compete

In Moore v. CAI, a recent Washington Court of Appeals case, the Court discussed a number of important issues related to employment law.

Case Background Robert Moore worked at Commercial Aircraft Interiors LLC (CAI) as VP of sales and marketing. Moore was laid off by CAI in a general work force reduction. During his tenure with CAI Moore signed a document acknowledging that he understood and agreed to abide by CAI’s “policy of non-disclosure of any and all company policies, trade secrets, intellectual properties, and customer contacts to outside entities or persons.”

Moore sought employment from Volant, a CAI competitor. Volant was prepared to hire Moore, so long as CAI stipulated that such employment would not violate any agreement CAI had with Moore.

CAI...

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Business Startup

Deferred Compensation

Deferred compensation is compensation to employees or independent contractors that is paid after the income is earned. Examples of deferred compensation include stock options, retirement plans, agreements to defer salary or bonuses, severance agreements, and deferred payments in connection with covenants not to compete.

Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans Under qualified deferred compensation plans, contributions by employers are not taxed to the employees at the time of the contribution. The full amount of the untaxed contribution can be invested. Employers get an immediate deduction for contributions to qualified plans, even though the employee is not taxed at that time. Eventually benefits from qualified plans are distributed, and are generally subject to taxation at this point. However, distributions can be “rolled over” to IRA’s...

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Business Startup

News Roundup Week 13: The JOBS Bill, Securities Law, Employment Law, Social Media Law, etc.

The JOBS Bill & Securities Laws

Senate and House Approve Major Overhauls of Federal Securities Law This week the house and senate JOBS bills were reconciled and H.R. 3606 was sent to the president to be signed into law. The White House has publicly supported the bill, and is expected to sign the bill soon. The 22 page bill has seven different titles, each of which is intended to make it easier for companies to raise money.

Title I “Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies” creates reduced reporting obligations for “emerging growth companies,” a newly defined classification of businesses. These reduced filing and reporting obligations mean that only the largest companies will have to fully comply with the burdensome filing and...

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Business Startup

News Roundup 2012 Week 12: Corporate Finance, Int’l Trade & Clean Energy, Corporate Governance, Social Media & Employment Law

Corporate Finance & Securities Regulation

Senate JOBS Act Passes Key Hurdle Today the Senate voted 76-22  to pass a cloture motion (a motion to end debate) on the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act. This controversial legislation would enable businesses to raise money through crowdfunding, and would reduce other restrictions on raising capital. The Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune support the JOBS Act, but others including the New York Times and the Securities Exchange Commission have spoken against the bill. One the one hand, the Journal and the Tribune are taking the position that the bill should be passed because it will boost the economy, and on the other, the Times and the SEC are concerned that without appropriate regulation the...

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Business Startup

News Roundup 2012 Week 11: Securities Law, Employment Law, Executive Compensation

Securities Law

SEC Cracks Down on Sales of Private Securities The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil charges against three brokerage firms, Felix Investments, EB Financial, and SharesPost, that trade shares of privately held technology securities. According to the SEC, fund managers at Felix and EB Financial misled investors and took undisclosed fees and commissions. SharesPost, an online exchange for private shares, reportedly brokered transactions and failed to register as a broker-dealer. EB Financial settled for about $310,000, and SharesPost and its founder will pay about $100,000 combined. Meanwhile the SEC is progressing with a lawsuit against Felix and its manager. US legislators are considering adopting new laws that would make it easier to trade shares on the secondary markets.

Employment Law

CA...

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Business Startup

OFCCP Proposes Regulation Requiring Contractors to Set Hiring Targets for Disabled Workers

In December 2011, the United States Department of Labor announced a new plan that requires federal contractors and subcontractors to have disabled workers comprise a minimum of seven percent of their work force. The public comments period for this proposal expired on February 21, 2012, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is reviewing public reaction. Although the department says it would not be an explicit requirement, companies that do not meet this target could nevertheless be penalized with revoked contracts or could be barred from winning future contracts until they show they are taking steps to meet the target.

Current law encourages federal contractors to maintain a diverse work force but does not specify what percentage of jobs...

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Business Startup

Social Media Legal Issues: (Post Number 6): Labor Law and the Pitfalls of Using Social Media to Make Employment Decisions

The people it hires are an essential part of a company’s brand and should be carefully vetted to protect and promote that brand. As a part of the vetting process, and also as part of ongoing employee monitoring, it has become popular for employers to examine employees’ social media profiles.  Social media is a tempting medium through which a company can review applicants’ personal information—information that may not come up on an application or during an interview. While social media profiles provide a lot of useful information for employers, the use of information gleaned from social media profiles also presents a real legal risk. To help avoid these risks, employers should remember the following when using social profiles as a...

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