MEMORANDUM.docx - MEMORANDUM TO Dr Kyan Ware FROM Arielle Buswell DATE RE Greene’s Jewelry Wholesale LLC v Jennifer Lawson Breach of contract claim

MEMORANDUM.docx - MEMORANDUM TO Dr Kyan Ware FROM Arielle...

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MEMORANDUM TO: Dr. Kyan Ware FROM: Arielle Buswell DATE: August 16, 2018 RE: Greene’s Jewelry Wholesale, LLC v. Jennifer Lawson. Breach of contract claim and counter-claim discriminatory termination. QUESTIONS PRESENTED 1. Under New Hampshire law, did Lawson breach a legally binding non-disclosure agreement contract held with Greene’s Jewelry Wholesale? 2. Under New Hampshire law, did Greene’s Jewelry Wholesale wrongfully terminate Lawson? BRIEF ANSWERS 1. Yes, there was a legally binding contract and Lawson did breach the legally binding non- disclosure agreement with Greene’s Jewelry Wholesale regarding a trade secret. Upon employment, Lawson signed a contract “by which she agreed never to disclose any information that she might acquire from Greene’s regarding the process used to create Ever- Gold.” Under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (USTA) and the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, the conscious act of handing over a confidential document that contains the secret process for Ever-Gold to the hiring manager at Howell Jewelry World for personal and economic gain constitutes an act of trade secret misappropriation and breach of a legally binding, written non-disclosure contract. 2. Probably no, Greene’s Jewelry Wholesale did not wrongfully terminate Lawson due to discrimination under Title VII’s Pregnancy Discrimination Act contained in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In this case, Greene’s Jewelry Wholesale laid off Lawson because they were “downsizing and no longer had a need for any of their junior executive secretaries.” This would mean that all persons holding the position
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of “junior executive secretary” at Greene’s Jewelry Wholesale were laid off, the positions were not filled, and their decision to lay off Lawson was not due to pregnancy discrimination, regardless of the coincidental timing. However, under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act or terms set forth by the employment contract, Lawson may be entitled to receiving advanced notice regarding the layoff. FACTS Greene’s Jewelry Wholesale is a business in Derry, New Hampshire, comprised of a warehouse and two storefronts; the company currently employs 502 individuals. The primary asset of Greene’s Jewelry Wholesale is its process for creating a synthetic gold-colored material called “Ever-Gold.” Greene’s Jewelry Wholesale maintains this process as a trade secret. Lawson entered into a legally binding non-disclosure contract with Greene’s Jewelry Wholesale sealing her promise to never reveal the secret process of Ever-Gold to anyone. By signing the non- disclosure agreement, a bilateral contract was formed between the two parties and Lawson was granted the employment position of Junior Executive Secretary. Aside from being regularly late to work, Lawson was described as a “professional, articulate, diligent, and skilled” worker. After three years of employment, Lawson spoke with Lisa Peele, the head of human resources at
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