Employment Discrimination Blog

Monday, September 9, 2019

Recent Changes in Employment Law That You Need to Know

What changes have developed concerning restrictive covenants?

The field of employment law is ever-shifting, and as a business owner it is imperative that you stay abreast of the latest legal developments. Your hiring, management of employees, firing, and more could be greatly affected by shifts in the employment law landscape. Not conforming with changes to the law could leave you out of compliance and potentially open to fines or even litigation. Our Atlanta employment law attorneys discuss a few crucial areas in which employment law has experienced recent changes below.

Marijuana Testing

Traditionally, employers have the right to drug test employees and terminate those employees that are found to have violated the company’s drug policies. Most employers will not tolerate the use of mind-altering drugs by employees during the workday. However, with the increasing popularity of medical marijuana and CBD oil, employers nationwide are struggling to adapt their laws. CBD oil is legal, but it contains low levels of THC. At times, prolonged use of CBD oil could show up on a drug test.

Already, at least one instance has arisen in which a commercial truck driver had his employment terminated due to CBD oil usage. It is critical that employers in Georgia and nationwide have a clear drug policy in place that includes medical drugs like medical marijuana and CBD oil.  Employers need to consider what their stance is on the use of these drugs outside of the workplace. Employers should consult with an employment law attorney to ensure their drug policy conforms to local, state, and national laws.

Restrictive Covenants 

Non-compete agreements have fallen into disfavor by many jurisdictions in recent years. For employers, restrictive covenants can be highly useful as a way to reduce direct competition by former employees who may have insider information about the company. However, many courts have taken the stance that restrictive covenants are unduly limiting as to a former employee’s freedom of employment.

Cases concerning restrictive covenants have tended to support the notion that, in order to be enforceable, a restrictive covenant must be narrowly tailored. First, the employer will need to show that the non-compete agreement has been formed to further a legitimate business interest.  Next, the restrictions must be narrow and tailored towards achieving that purpose. Lastly, the employee must receive some sort of consideration in exchange for agreeing to the covenant. Employers desiring to implement a restrictive covenant will want to consult with an employment law attorney who will help them to draft a non-compete agreement that is likely to withstand legal challenges.

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