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High court rules for New York worker in employment contract issue

The concept of a global economy is not necessarily new. When it comes to employment law, difficult issues can arise for many workers as an employer may present an employment contract that involves provisions that are governed by laws in other states. In today’s economic landscape, a worker may live and work in one state, while the employer is in another state.

A New York actuary had that kind of relationship with an employer from Florida. The actuary and the business, an insurance broker, entered into a written agreement that was related to the employer-employee relationship. The employment contract included a number of restrictive covenants. The broker sought to have the restrictive agreements controlled under Florida law, although they applied to an actuary in New York. The non-compete-type agreements were to remain in effect for two-years if the actuary left the job.

The insurance company later fired the actuary. After being fired, the worker needed income and took a job with a competitor of the broker. The Florida employer wanted to bar that new opportunity for the actuary under the terms of the employment contract.

The New York Court of Appeals recently refused to enforce the restrictive covenants under New York law. The high court reviewed the way Florida law views restrictive covenants and determined that enforcing the non-solicitation or non-compete agreement in New York would be offensive to the policies recognized under New York law.

New York’s highest court ruled that it would not enforce the choice of law provision of the contract that purported to require the agreement to be analyzed under Florida law. The court found the choice of law provision unenforceable in New York because the policies pertaining to Florida restrictive covenants are “truly offensive” to New York employment contract law, according to Financial Post.

Employment contracts are not necessarily unenforceable in every instance. An employment contract may set forth the rights of an employee. Workers and professionals may seek the assistance of an employment law attorney in negotiating an employment contract.

Similarly, an employment rights lawyer in New York may help a person fight against the enforcement of an unlawful agreement.

Source: Financial Post, “Florida law governing employment covenants ‘truly obnoxious’ to New York, court holds,” Julius Melnitzer, Feb. 27, 2014

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