Court rules that executives can keep their excessive pay packages.

Microsoft recently revealed that its shareholders approved an $84 million compensation package for their CEO, Satya Nadella.  Not bad for his first year on the job.  Satya is in good company, as many other executives have also been receiving generous pay packages.  Accordingly to Equilar’s 2014 report on CEO pay, the median income for chief executives of the S&P 1500 is $5 million.  For chiefs of S&P 500 companies, the median pay doubles to $10.1 million. All of these millions made me wonder what, other than one’s imagination, are the limits on a board’s authority in creating a compensation package for an executive.  The good news for executives is that a recent case from the Third Circuit – which encompasses Delaware,… Read More

Is it a breach of contract to announce your new job on LinkedIn?

Now “trending” with the Courts are lawsuits addressing the interplay between social media and employee rights.  In this rapidly evolving area of the law, cases of first impression are being filed on a regular basis.  The issue de jour involves employers suing their former employees—both executive-level employees and lower-level as well—for making seemingly innocuous postings to LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter announcing new positions.  Posting of this nature are ubiquitous today.  Yet, employers are filing lawsuits claiming that these activities violate non-compete and non-solicitation agreements entered into by the former-employees.  Let’s explore the issues. Companies commonly require employees—particularly higher placed employ… Read More

CEO’s failure to act promptly results in an inability to demonstrate wrongful termination

Executives often find themselves in a dilemma when they discover that, due to no fault of their own, their employer may be running afoul of the law.  If they report the illegal activity, they may face demotion or termination.  On the other hand, if they remain silent or acquiesce to the activities, they run the risk of becoming accessories to the actions and can potentially face criminal or civil liability themselves.  Fortunately, employees are not without legal protections of their own.  For example, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”) protects whistleblowers of publicly-traded companies by prohibiting employers from retaliating against them for providing information about potentially illegal conduct.  However, a recent opinion from t… Read More

Louis Vuitton sues former Vice President for copying files

On April 4, 2014, June Ma resigned from a position in which she made over $400,000 as a Vice President for design house Louis Vuitton.  Her plan was to begin a new position as a Senior Vice President for Coach on April 28, 2014, which presumably was intended to advance her career.  However, on May 7, 2014,  just nine-days after starting with Coach, Louis Vuitton filed a lawsuit against both Ma and Coach in the New York State Supreme Court.  So what’s the hubbub amongst these peddlers of luxury goods? Regrettably, it presents a fact pattern that has become frighteningly commonplace.  And while this case involves glitzy fashion designers, it ultimately boils down to a scenario that I and every other executive employment lawyer see all… Read More