Wage-fixing, i.e., agreeing with competitors that everyone will pay the same wage or will not pay more than a pre-agreed amount, is illegal. Just as companies can’t get together and fix prices for goods, they are also prohibited from fixing prices for services. A recent indictment of a Texas ex-owner of a staffing agency alleging that he engaged in price fixing shows that DOJ and FBI take wage-fixing arrangement seriously. The indicted ex-owner now faces up to 15 years in prison and over a million dollars in fines.
In Texas, client non-solicitation agreements are subject to the same rules as the non-compete agreements. Therefore, they must be “reasonable” and “not impose a greater restraint than is necessary to protect the goodwill or other business interest” of the employer.
While the enforcement of non-compete agreements around the country remains strong, the courts are looking closer at whether an employee will suffer “undue hardship” if his or her non-compete is enforced. Thus, employers should avoid taking unreasonable positions in court and be prepared to explain why enforcing a particular non-competition agreement will not prevent an employee from earning a living.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently clarified that non-employees do not have standing to sue under Title VII, even if they are an object of intentional retaliation.
On September 25, 2020, I will be presenting a lunch-and-learn webinar on emerging Covid-19 legal challenges for staffing agencies and possible solutions, organized by the National Association of Personnel Services. The presentation will focus on the new challenges that that staffing and personnel placement firms face due to COVID-19, from FMLA leave and ADA issues, to OSHA and CDC compliance issues, to the indemnification and force majeure issues in contracts with clients.
An employer cannot wrongfully breach a provision of an employment contract that is favorable to the employee (such as reducing his wages without his consent and without contractual authority to do so) an then go into a court of equity to secure, by injunction, the enforcement of another provision favorable to it.”