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Non-Compete News: In Georgia, Whether It Is a Non-Compete or a Non-Solicit Makes All the Difference

Georgia’s Restrictive Covenants Act (the “RCA”) became effective in May 2011, but it took nearly six years before a court published a decision interpreting the statute in the context of a non-competition provision (See our previous legal alert regarding the first published decision). Therefore, companies deciding whether to use or enforce a non-compete agreement have little guidance regarding how courts will interpret such agreements under the law.

Non-Compete News – Georgia Court Interprets Who Can Be Subject to a Non-Compete

Executive Summary: Effective May 2011, Georgia’s Restrictive Covenants Act (RCA) represented a significant change to pre-existing Georgia law. Since then, however, very few courts have interpreted the RCA, leaving employers and practitioners alike with questions over how, and under what circumstances, restrictive covenants agreements may be used to protect an employer’s legitimate business interests.[1] One of the few decisions interpreting the statute, CSM Bakery Solutions, LLC v. Debus (N.D. Ga. 2017) underscores the reality that some employees in Georgia simply are immune from post-employment non-compete provisions – even where the covenants are reasonably tailored in duration, geographic proximity, and scope of precluded activity.

Hands-Free Georgia Act Takes Effect July 1, 2018

Executive Summary: Employees are increasingly exposed to traffic and longer commute times, and some employees drive during the course and scope of their employment. Hands-free technology makes it possible to safely conduct business from a vehicle. As such, Georgia employers should be aware of recent changes to state law regarding the use of hands-free technology by drivers. Vehicle use policies may need to be updated to ensure compliance with state law.

Georgia Bans Hand-Held Devices While Driving

Georgia has become one of 16 states in the country that bans the use of hand-held devices while driving. Governor Nathan Deal signed “Hands-Free Georgia Act” (House Bill 673) into law on May 2, 2018. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2018.

Georgia Targets Elder Abuse with Tough New Long-Term Care Background Check Law

A new Georgia law will require nursing home and other long-term care workers to submit to extensive background checks. The “Georgia Long-Term Care Background Check Program” will take effect on October 1, 2019. Georgia joins the majority of other states mandating enhanced satisfactory background check for care workers.

Georgia Supreme Court Clarifies Insurance Company is Not ‘Financial Institution’ in Garnishment Law

An insurance company named as a garnishee in a garnishment action is not a “financial institution” under Georgia’s garnishment statute when the garnishment is seeking earnings owed to its current or former employees.

Non-Compete News: Georgia Court of Appeals Confirms Lack of Geographic or Material Contact Limitation Does Not Invalidate Non-Solicitation of Employees Covenant

Executive Summary: Georgia’s recent Restrictive Covenant Act, enacted in 2011, does not directly address non-solicitation of employees a/k/a non-recruitment covenants, thereby leaving such provisions subject to the principles developed by courts through “common law” (i.e. case law). Because Georgia common law is not well developed on the requirements of employee non-solicitation covenants, employers often second guess the enforceability of such covenants. Fortunately, the Georgia Court of Appeals recently provided some clarification on these covenants in CMGRP, Inc. v. Gallant, No. A17A1168 (Ga. Ct. App. Oct. 4, 2017), where it made clear that non-solicitation of employees covenants do not require geographic or material contact limitations to be enforceable.

Georgia Court of Appeals Confirms Non-Solicitation of Employees Covenant Need Not Have Geographic or Material Contact Language

As previously noted in Jackson Lewis’ Non-Compete & Trade Secrets Report, Georgia adopted legislation governing restrictive covenant agreements entered into on or after May 11, 2011.

Georgia's New Kin Care Law: Who is Covered and What It Means for Employers

Overview: On May 8, 2017, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 201, now known as Act 203, into law. The law went into effect on July 1, 2017. In short, the new law requires covered employers, who provide paid sick leave to employees, to allow those employees to use some sick leave to care for immediate family members. The law does not create a new cause of action, which means an employee cannot bring a private suit against her or his employer under the new law.

New Georgia Law Preempts Predictive Scheduling Ordinances

Georgia’s Minimum Wage Law (O.C.G.A. § 34-4-1 et seq.) already prohibits local governments from requiring employers to pay employees a wage rate that exceeds what is required under state or federal law. This same law also prohibits local governments from requiring employers to provide employment benefits not otherwise required by state or federal law. And on May 8, 2017, Governor Nathan Deal signed a law that adds an amendment further prohibiting Georgia localities from passing “predictive scheduling” ordinances.