non-compete clauses or agreements...
Non-compete agreements, which are common for some companies as a condition of employment, can be tough. Non-compete agreements are intended to prohibit individuals from competing with an employer after employment has ended. However, non-compete agreements are not always enforced by our courts. Non-compete agreements must be reasonable both in time and scope. In addition, there are a number of possible defenses to non-compete cases that can be asserted depending on the particular circumstances of the case.
The Law Offices of Archibald J. Thomas, III, P.A. is often called upon to review non-compete agreements on behalf of current or former employees. These agreements are often signed upon the commencement of employment. Sometimes however the employer will require an employee to sign a non-compete agreement at some point after the employment has commenced. Regardless of when the agreement is signed, the concern about non-compete agreements does not often arise until the employee leaves employment or is considering the possibility of leaving.
Non-compete agreements can vary from state to state. It is important to determine the law of the state that applies to the non-compete agreement. In the state of Florida, the courts generally will not enforce a non-compete agreement unless the employer can establish a legitimate business interest. Florida law provides that any of the following can be protected as legitimate business interests:
- Protecting trade secrets
- Maintaining valuable confidential business or professional information
- Preserving relationships with specific prospective or existing customers, patients, or clients;
- Defending goodwill associated with an ongoing business or professional practice, by way of a trademark, geographic location or marketing/trade area;
- Maximizing investment in extraordinary or specialized training