When businesses hire employees, they are often privy to confidential information that gives the company a competitive edge in the marketplace. In order to protect this information, many employers require their employees to sign a non-compete agreement.
A non-compete agreement is a type of contract that prohibits an employee from working for a competitor or starting a competing business for a certain period of time after leaving their employer. In Florida, non-compete agreements are governed by state law and are enforceable under certain circumstances.
Under Florida law, a non-compete agreement must be reasonable in terms of its duration, geographic scope, and the type of work or industry it covers. Additionally, the agreement must be necessary to protect the legitimate business interests of the employer, such as trade secrets, customer lists, or other confidential information.
The duration of a non-compete agreement in Florida can range from a few months to a few years, depending on the nature of the business and the type of work being performed. However, the agreement cannot be so long that it places an undue burden on the employee’s ability to earn a living.
The geographic scope of a non-compete agreement in Florida must be limited to the areas where the employer does business or has a legitimate interest in protecting its business interests. For example, if a company only does business in one county, it would not be reasonable to have a non-compete agreement that covers the entire state.
Finally, the type of work or industry covered by a non-compete agreement must be limited to the specific areas in which the employee worked for the employer. For example, if an employee worked in sales, the non-compete agreement should only prohibit the employee from working in a sales role for a competitor.
If an employee violates a non-compete agreement in Florida, the employer may file a lawsuit seeking an injunction to prevent the employee from working for a competitor or engaging in a competing business. Additionally, the employer may seek damages for any harm caused by the employee’s violation of the agreement.
In summary, non-compete agreements can be an effective tool for employers to protect their business interests, but they must be reasonable and necessary. If you are an employee who has been asked to sign a non-compete agreement, it is important to review the agreement carefully and seek legal advice if necessary. If you are an employer considering a non-compete agreement, it is important to ensure that the agreement is drafted carefully to comply with Florida law.