A technological solutions company that emailed policy updates to its employees, but did not have the employees sign for the update, could not enforce a noncompete provision against one of its employees in Mississippi. The court ruled that the update might have been enforceable if it did not contain a signature line, which the employee never signed.
The case is a reminder to employers of the risks of emailing policy updates of any type to employees, without receiving at least some form of electronic or, preferably, written acknowledgement. Because of the importance of restrictive covenants, it is also a best practice to include them in agreements that are signed by employees, rather than just including them in employee handbooks or other policy manuals. Certain state laws specifically require employee signatures for restrictive covenants to be enforced. It may be a good time, with Spring approaching, to do some “cleaning” up if you don’t have signed agreements from your employees.