Non-Compete Agreements

Employers will often require their employees to sign an agreement restricting the ability of the employee to compete with his employer after his or her employment terminates. In Louisiana, the non-compete agreement may only extend for two (2) years after the termination of employment and must specify the parishes from which the former employee is excluded from competing.

A non-compete agreement is not only a great advantage to the employer after the termination of employment but, because an employee faces the prospect of moving his family after the employment terminates, it is also a great advantage to the employer in salary negotiations during employment.

So You Want to Fire Your Employee

Like most other states, Louisiana is an at-will employment state. That means an employer may fire an employee for any lawful reason or for no reason at all. Similarly, the employee may terminate his employment for any or no reason at all.

An employer may not, however, fire an employee because of the employee’s protected status. Protections afforded by federal and Louisiana law include:

• Abortion
• Age
• Bankruptcy
• Birth
• Civil services laws protecting public employees
• Environmental complaints
• ERISA rights
• Garnishment or assignment of wages
• Gender/Sex
• Genetic information
• Handicap/Disability/Physical Condition
• Jury service
• Military service
• National Origin, National Ancestry/Citizenship/Culture; alienage
• Political affiliation
• Pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions
• Race/Color/Birth
• Refusal to pay for medical examination
• Religion
• Safety complaints
• Sickle Cell Trait
• Smoking
• Concerted activities, union participation or non-union status/labor investigations
• Wage and hour rights
• Whistleblowing
• Workers’ Compensation rights
• Unemployment compensation claims
• Veterans status

When an employer contemplates terminating an employee with a protected status, it is important to have a well-documented, legitimate business reason for termination.

So You Just Got Fired

Employees who have been fired from their employment often wonder whether they have a case against their employer for wrongful termination. Unfortunately for employees, Louisiana and most other states have at-will employment. That means that an employer generally may terminate an employee at any time and the employee may terminate his employment at any time.

However, an employer may not terminate an employee for an unlawful reason. Many employees enjoy a protected status (e.g., race, disability, age, etc.). An employer may not terminate an employee because of the employee’s protected status. However, the employer may terminate the employee for legitimate business reasons and may even terminate the employee for arbitrary reasons, provided the reason is not because of the employee’s protected status.

Protected status recognized under the law include:

• Civil services laws protecting public employees
• Environmental complaints
• ERISA rights
• Garnishment or assignment of wages
• Gender/Sex
• Genetic information
• Handicap/Disability/Physical Condition
• Jury service
• Military service
• National Origin, National Ancestry/Citizenship/Culture; alienage
• Political affiliation
• Pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions
• Race/Color/Birth
• Refusal to pay for medical examination
• Religion
• Safety complaints
• Sickle Cell Trait
• Smoking
• Concerted activities, union participation or non-union status/labor investigations
• Wage and hour rights
• Whistleblowing
• Workers’ Compensation rights
• Unemployment compensation claims
• Veterans status

Do you believe you’ve been fired for an unlawful reason? Are you an employer who needs help understanding employment law? Norman Business Law Center has the experience and the knowledge to help you with whatever you may need. View our full list of business litigation services, or contact us to schedule a consultation today!