Have you ever been asked to sign a non-compete agreement in Florida? Are you an employer who uses non-competes to protect your business? Learn what a non-compete is and when it is enforceable in this article.
What’s a Non-Compete Agreement?
A non-compete agreement is a legal contract between two parties in which one party agrees not to participate in competition with the other party’s business. In general, employers use non-compete agreements to keep their high-level employees from taking business away from their company. In some cases, a company may use a non-compete agreement when buying a business to prevent the seller from starting a competing business right after the sale.
This type of contract usually states certain terms and conditions, such as the geographical region and timeframe in which the employee cannot engage in competing business. The term “non-compete” means that this individual cannot compete against the company they previously worked for in a similar field.
Is A Non-Compete Agreement Enforceable in Florida?
A non-compete agreement in Florida is enforceable if certain criteria are in place. First, the employer must ensure that the contract is reasonable in its geographical scope. For instance, if the employee is starting a business in another part of the country, the agreement may not be enforceable. Second, the employer must ensure that the contract is reasonable in its scope of time. In general, non-compete agreements in Florida stipulate restrictions on business endeavors for up to two years.
If the agreement is overbroad in its restrictions, a court may find it unenforceable. However, if the court finds it unenforceable, the court can modify the agreement to make the terms more reasonable. Companies that wish to create an enforceable non-compete must be sure to follow the Florida Statutes.
Examples of Legitimate Business Interests Protected by a Non-Compete Agreement in Florida
You must have a legitimate business interest to enforce a non-compete. Examples of a legitimate business interest include:
- Trade secrets
- Specialized training the employee received
- Relationships with existing clients in the industry
- Other valuable business information
Without a legitimate business interest, your agreement will not be enforceable.
How to Enforce a Non-Compete Agreement in Florida
Upon learning that an employee or former employee is violating their agreement with your business, you must take steps to ensure your interests are protected.
First, contact the employee to remind them of the agreement. For employees who are leaving, it is a good strategy to discuss the terms of the non-compete. If the employee continues to ignore their obligations, you can ask your attorney to send a cease-and-desist letter to the employee that tells them to refrain from competitive activities.
As a second course of action, you can also contact the new employer of your former employee. Most of the time the new employer is not aware that their employee is under a non-compete agreement.
If these steps do not put a stop to the competition, it may be time to enforce your agreement using legal action. You may be able to seek arbitration before proceeding to the courts for a remedy. In the meantime, if your agreement specifies it, you could be able to seek an injunction on all competitive business until the matter is resolved.
Talk to an Attorney to Protect Your Business Interests
Are you in need of an attorney who can help you draft an agreement and represent your interests in court? Contact the Saltiel Law Group today to learn your next steps.