Georgia’s New Employment Law…What you need to know

In 2011, Georgia established a new law governing and managing employee agreements.  In this blog post, I’m going to talk a little about employment law prior to the new code, employment law after the new code and what you need to do to protect your business.  Check back here for new articles on non-compete provisions and non-solicitation provisions as they relate to employment law as well.

This new law is actually the first time that employment agreements have ever been a part of the written Georgia Code.  In the links section, you’ll find a link to the Georgia Code which lists all of the statutes and laws in the state of Georgia.

What you won’t find online, though, is the case law that forms Georgia’s common law.  Until this year, employment agreements were governed by a patch work of case decisions by the Georgia Supreme Court, Georgia Court of Appeals and the local Federal courts.  To say the least, this created a situation that made it impossible to use an employment agreement with certainty about interpretation and outcome in the event of a court challenge.

Employment law has always been governed by general contract law, which actually originated in the old English common law.  This common law is based on centuries of contract disputes throughout the English court system.  Most of these English decisions were adopted by the early US Courts and thus became a part of our common law as well.

The law regarding employee agreements in general and non-compete and non-soliciation agreement have changed dramatically.  In many ways, the new statutory regiment if far more advantageous to business owners and managers than the old common law standards and you owe it to yourself to explore how these new standards can help your business.

All employment agreements currently in place are still going to be governed by the common law and are NOT going to be judged by the new statutory provisions.  In order to protect your business, you need have your employment agreements reviewed.  In many situations, you may be better served by developing and using new employment agreements for your key personnel, sales people, customer support people and technical support people.  Basically, anyone who has access to and contact with customers, processes, systems, and intellectual property should sign some kind of employment agreement.

Please contact The Collins Firm today for a free consultation about updating your employment agreements.  Stay tuned for additional posts about employment agreements in this series.

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