Overview of SC Employment and Labor Law

Mackrell International
South Carolina Employment and
Labor Law—A Brief Overview
May 29, 2012
David Dubberly
South Carolina Payment of Wages Act
• S.C. Code Ann. §§ 41-10-41 to 41-10-110
• Notify at time of hire in writing
– Wages and hours
– Time and place of payment
– Deductions from paychecks
– Policies on vacation, holiday, and sick leave
South Carolina Payment of Wages Act
• Notify of changes other than raises in writing
seven days in advance
• No deductions from wages unless
– Required or permitted by law
– Employee has been notified
South Carolina Payment of Wages Act
• Upon termination for any reason
– All wages due must be paid
– Within 48 hours or by next regular payday if
within 30 days
• If disagreement on wages due
– Give written notice of employer’s position
– Pay amount conceded to be due
South Carolina Payment of Wages Act
• Penalties for failure to notify
– $100 per offense
• Penalties for failure to pay
– Treble damages
– Employee’s attorney’s fees and costs
– Potential personal liability for managers
South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act
• S.C. Code Ann. §§ 41-8-10 to 41-8-140
• Enroll in E-Verify
• Use E-Verify to confirm work
– For all new employees
– Within three days of hire
South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act
• Do not knowingly or intentionally employ
unauthorized alien
• Otherwise may have imputed license to employ
workers and do business in SC suspended or revoked
• Enforced by SC Dept. of Labor, Licensing, and
– Random audits
– Complaint investigations
South Carolina Employee Handbook Law
• S.C. Code Ann. § 41-1-110
• Employee handbook or other personnel
– NOT contract of employment as matter of law
– IF includes “conspicuous” disclaimer
South Carolina Employee Handbook Law
• What is conspicuous disclaimer?
– First page of document
– (For handbooks) signed by employee
• Possible language
Handbook is not employment contract
At-will statement
Cannot be changed by oral statements
Right to change, interpret, make exceptions, etc.
South Carolina Trade Secrets Act
• S.C. Code Ann. §§ 39-8-10 to 39-8-130
– Based in part on Uniform Trade Secrets Act
• Employee obligation
– Every employee has duty to refrain from using or
disclosing employer’s trade secrets
• Information is trade secret if it
– Has independent economic value due to its secrecy
– Is subject to reasonable efforts to keep it secret
South Carolina Trade Secrets Act
• Definitions
– “Economic value” = gives or could give
owner advantage over competitors because
of its secrecy
– “Secret” = not generally known or easily
accessible to others in industry
– “Reasonable efforts” = information is
secured, labeled, and disclosed only on
“need to know” basis
South Carolina Trade Secrets Act
• Trade secrets
– Parts checklist, production plans, parts
delivery schedule for manufacturing plant
• Not Trade Secrets
– Customer lists if names on lists available to
public through proper sources
– Formulas for products if “readily available
from the suppliers of [the] raw materials”
South Carolina Trade Secrets Act
• Remedies
– Actual damages or unjust enrichment
– Exemplary damages
– Injunctive relief
– Attorney’s fees
– Criminal penalties
South Carolina Non-Compete Law
• Based on SC case law
• Non-competes disfavored, but generally upheld if
– Necessary to protect legitimate business interest of
– Reasonably limited as to time and place
– Not unduly restrictive
– Reasonable from public policy standpoint
– Supported by valuable consideration
South Carolina Non-Compete Law
• Reasonable time restriction
– No longer than reasonably necessary to protect
employer’s business interests
– SC Supreme Court has enforced non-competes
with otherwise valid restrictions lasting three
years or less
– Unlimited duration not enforceable
South Carolina Non-Compete Law
• Reasonable geographic restriction
– No broader than area in which employee
involved in active marketing efforts
– Without geographic term not enforceable
– Prohibition against contacting existing
customers can be valid substitute
South Carolina Non-Compete Law
• Valuable consideration
– Hiring even if on at-will basis
• But not continued at-will employment by
– Promotion with increase in pay
David Dubberly
[email protected]
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