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  • Welcome to Wedding Industry Law Online!

    Wedding Industry Law is your online resource for legal news and education on running a wedding business. We hope you find the articles, videos, and information helpful. If you have any comments, news tips, or areas that you would like to see covered, please let us know!

    Wedding Industry Law is edited by Wedding Lawyer and Trial Attorney Rob Schenk. Contributing blogger Ayisha Lawrence also kicks out some of the jams, too.

    UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE UNABLE TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS FOR LEGAL ADVICE (sad face).

Can I fire my wedding business employee?

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Manori de Silva says: “YOU’RE FIRED!”

Today’s blog post is brought to you by employment and business attorney Manori de Silva of Stanton Law in Atlanta, Georgia.  She is qualified as an attorney in England and the United States, speaks Dutch and French, and makes a mean casserole. So basically, she is like her own little United Nations. She has spent the last decade assisting local and international businesses  with a variety of employment and commercial matters. If you are in Georgia, California, or in England, and have questions about your wedding business, give her a shout.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this blog post (and anywhere else on this site, for that matter) is intended for informational purposes and should not be viewed as a replacement for getting legal advice from a lawyer.

What does ‘terminable at will’ mean? What is a ‘contract of employment’ mean?

Terminable “at will” means that no notice period or reason is required for the employer or the employee to end the employment relationship.  There is a caveat though: even if no notice or reason is required to fire an employee, an employer cannot fire an employee for a prohibited reason.  “Prohibited reasons” includes terminating because of the employee’s gender, age, race, national origin, disability, or for blowing the whistle on unlawful practices of the employer.  There are strict time limits on filing claims so it is important to act quickly if you have been terminated and believe it was for a prohibited reason.

Most employees in the U.S. are employed “at will”.  In contrast, a contract of employment refers to an agreement that the employee has specific rights above and beyond the existing laws regarding labor and employment.  For example, some agreements can promise employment for a minimum period of time (e.g. a fixed-term contract of two years).

Some employers inadvertently create permanent positions by including provisions which suggest that the employee can only be terminated “for cause”.  Sometimes the agreement itself defines “for cause”, but if there is no definition, then courts will look at past cases.  What usually happens in this scenario is that the employee is fired and claims that no “cause” existed, leaving the employer facing a breach of contract claim.

How do I keep my wedding business know-how safe?!

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Manori de Silva says: “Keep your wedding and event business stuff secret with non-disclosure agreements!”

Today’s blog post is brought to you by employment and business attorney Manori de Silva of Stanton Law in Atlanta, Georgia.  She is qualified as an attorney in England and the United States, speaks Dutch and French, and makes a mean casserole. So basically, she is like her own little United Nations. She has spent the last decade assisting local and international businesses  with a variety of employment and commercial matters. If you are in Georgia, California, or in England, and have questions about your business, give her a shout.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this blog post (and anywhere else on this site, for that matter) is intended for informational purposes and should not be viewed as a replacement for getting legal advice from a lawyer.

If I want to protect my customer lists, sales methods, and other know-how, from employees taking it and later using it, what should I do?

In this day and age, being technically savvy is all the more important because it is so much easier now for bad-intentioned employees to copy confidential information using USBs and cellphones than in the olden days, when copying required an actual photocopier or bulky camera.  Best practice is to have your employees sign non-disclosure, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements when they join the business if their roles require them to use or access confidential information (which includes trade secrets).  It is important to get legal advice on such agreements because courts can and do side with employees to say that the restrictions are unenforceable if they find them too broad.  State laws differ greatly in this area, so it is important to get state-specific legal advice.

Additionally, it is important to employ practical measures on the ground so that only those that absolutely need to have access to information that you want to protect are in fact given access.  For example, implement password access so that documents cannot be opened by everyone and keep sensitive information in physical or electronic locations that cannot be viewed or accessed by everyone.  Hard copy documents should likewise be secured in an appropriate fashion, such as in locked filing cabinets located in rooms to which only those that need to know have access.

If you believe that information has been stolen or is being misused, it is important to act quickly and get legal advice in case you need to seek assistance from the courts to obtain an injunction.  It is also critical to get professional advice so that staff members do not inadvertently access or alter hard drives etc. after the alleged theft and leave you unable to prove in court who committed the theft.