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Louisiana Court Treats Inevitable Disclosure Provision as Non-Compete Clause Subject to Geographic Restrictions

May an employer enforce a contract provision that forbids an employee to leave and take another job that would require him to use or reveal the employer’s confidential information? In Louisiana, maybe not, unless the agreement complies with Louisiana’s non-compete statute, La. Rev. Stat. § 23:921.

Increased Focus on Misclassification of Workers as Independent Contractors Will Continue in Louisiana

On October 25, 2017, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (“LWC”) issued a press release acknowledging the efforts of a task force which combats the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. The task force, known as “Government Against Misclassified Employees Operational Network” (“GAME ON”), is made up of members of the LWC’s Unemployment Insurance and Office of Workers’ Compensation divisions and the Louisiana Department of Revenue, with cooperative agreements with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Wage & Hour Division.

Louisiana Court Finds Executive Order Extending Protections to LGBT Employees of State Contractors Unconstitutional

In April of 2016, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed Executive Order JBE 2016 – 11, which sought to protect lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender individuals, among other protected classes, from discrimination practiced by state contractors. Months later, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and others challenged the order in a lawsuit filed in East Baton Rouge Parish that sought a permanent injunction, as well as a declaratory judgment that the executive order violated state law.

Louisiana Supreme Court Defines “Good Faith” for LEQA Whistleblower Actions

Answering a question certified by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that the term “good faith,” as used in the whistleblower section of the Louisiana Environmental Quality Act (LEQA), refers to “an employee … acting with an honest belief that a violation of an environmental law, rule, or regulation occurred.” The case is particularly instructive because the phrase “good faith” is used in Louisiana’s general anti-reprisal statute.

Louisiana Court Rejects Landman’s Whistleblower Claim Based on Finding That He Was an Independent Contractor

A recent Louisiana Court of Appeal decision held that an oil and gas landman did not have a claim under the Louisiana environmental whistleblower statute, which protects employees from retaliation for reporting environmental law violations, since he was properly classified as an independent contractor by the defendant. Finding that Dan S. Collins, a certified professional landman (CPL), and his company, Dan S. Collins, CPL and Associates, Inc., were independent contractors and not entitled to whistleblower status, the Court of Appeal, First Circuit reversed a jury verdict and the trial court’s damages judgment awarding $750,000. Collins v. State of Louisiana, Through Dep't of Nat. Res., No. 2016 CA 1195 ( April 28, 2017).

Louisiana Court Holds Employer Responsible for Failing to Protect Employee From Off-Duty Threat of Violence by Coworker

A Louisiana appellate court has ruled an employee may sue her employer for negligence for injuries sustained on the job when the injuries resulted from a dispute that began outside of work. The case is particularly instructive for disputes that originate outside of work where one or both of the participants is a Louisiana employee.

New Orleans Mayor Signs Executive Order Prohibiting Wage History Inquires

On January 25, 2017, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed Executive Order MJL17-01, which prohibits questions about salary history during the application process for persons seeking employment with the City of New Orleans. The order further requires the Civil Service Commission to conduct a pay disparity study among city employees and submit the study to the mayor and chief administrative officer.

Louisiana Executive Order Extending Protections to LGBT Employees of State Contractors Enjoined

In June, we reported that in April 2016, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) signed Executive Order JBE 2016 – 11, which sought to protect lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender individuals, among other protected classes, from discrimination practiced by state contractors.

Louisiana Supreme Court Bounces Out on Arbitration Clause

A recent Louisiana Supreme Court decision over the enforceability of an arbitration clause has the justices battling it out. Against well-established precedent favoring arbitration clauses, the court recently found that a provision in an indoor trampoline park’s participant agreement was unenforceable because it was adhesionary and lacked mutuality of consent. Duhon v. ACTIVELAF, LCC, d/b/a Sky Zone Lafayette et al., No. 2016-0810 (October 19, 2016). The case is important for Louisiana employers with arbitration agreements.

How Can Employees Help Victims of Louisiana’s August 2016 Storms. . .Through an Employer Leave Donation Program or Leave Sharing Program?

In mid-September, the IRS announced income tax relief for individuals who donate through their employers to aid victims of the Louisiana storms that began on August 11, 2016. See IRS Notice 2016-55 (Sept. 16, 2016). To get this special relief — similar to that provided for leave donation aid given after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Sandy, and the Ebola outbreak in Africa — an employer must establish a leave-based donation program (a “Leave Donation Program”). Under that program, employees forego their vacation, sick, or personal leave and ask the employer instead to make a cash-equivalent donation to charitable organizations aiding those victims from the Louisiana storms.