Legal Issues with Your Non-Compete Agreement? Contact an Attorney Today!
If you are asked to sign a non-compete agreement by a potential employer or current employer, it is critical to understand what you are signing. Non-compete agreements in Florida can influence your ability to make a living in the future, which is why it is so vital to hire a Florida non-compete lawyer.
Your financial future is at stake.
What Is A Non-Compete Agreement?
A non-compete agreement is a document that many employers use to protect their business interests. It serves as a contract between an employer and an employee, detailing the limits of what the employee can do after leaving a company. It is intended to prevent the employee from being a direct competitor.
A non-compete lawyer in Florida has the expertise to analyze the language of the agreement, ensuring that the employee has clarity regarding what is included in the document. Non-compete agreements are often written with intentionally vague language to either confuse the employee or give the employer an unreasonable advantage. Sometimes the language restricting your ability to work in the same field after leaving your current employer is buried in a document offering you current benefits of employment, such as a stock option plan.
Signing these types of documents should be done with careful consideration. The advice and counsel of a Florida non-compete lawyer will give you the confidence you need to make the right decision for you – and your financial future.
Are Non-Compete Agreements Enforceable in Florida?
Florida Statute 542.335governs non-compete agreements across the state. They can be enforceable, depending on the language detailed within. Non-compete agreements can also potentially be so restrictive that they severely limit individuals’ ability to work in their desired career after leaving that company. Challenging the enforceability of such agreements is costly and risky. Your best approach is a review of the agreement before you sign it. If that is not an option because you have already signed, you need to know your options and the consequences of action taken by you after leaving your company.
A non-compete attorney in Florida will review the document to ensure it protects legitimate business interests. If it does not – the non-compete agreement is not enforceable.
Additionally, the duration and geographic scope of any restrictions must be reasonable. Geographic scope limitations will vary depending on the industry and specific circumstances related to the business interests of the company, length of employment, duties performed, and other related issues. Still, Florida courts rarely consider these contracts between an employer and (former) employee to be enforceable if they are longer than two years in duration.
Can I Sue?
If you have already signed a non-compete agreement, that does not mean you do not have the option but to obey the parameters of the document. You may be able to challenge the agreement and sue to get your livelihood back. A Florida non-compete lawyer can mount an aggressive defense of your rights in certain situations.
First, the non-compete attorney will determine if it is not enforceable. But that is not your only potential reason to sue. You may have a case if the employer engages in illegal activity, such as breach of contract, illegal discrimination, or other illegal conduct. Additionally, if the employer asks or demands you to engage in unlawful activity, you may also have a case.
When to Hire a Non-Compete Lawyer
Many employees across varying industries are asked to sign a non-compete agreement as a condition of employment. Other employers will wait until after the employee is hired. It is highly advisable to hire a non-compete agreement attorney to evaluate the document in either case.
If you have left an employer and have been unreasonably restricted by the non-compete agreement you signed or are facing litigation from a former employer due to a claim that you have breached a contract, contact a non-compete attorney to defend your rights.
Individuals have the right to make a living in the career of their choice. Non-compete agreements should be reasonable in their duration and geographic limitations and extend to the protection of legitimate business interests only.
In the state of Florida, laws exist to define legitimate business interests where a non-compete agreement can be enforced, including:
- Protection of trade secrets
- Relationships with prospective and existing clients
- Confidentiality of business or professional information
- Extraordinary or specialized training used to maximize investment
- Goodwill with ongoing business or professional practice, including trademarks, geographic locations, and marketing/trade areas
Contact an Experienced Florida Attorney Today
At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we know – all too well – how serious it can be when a worker’s career is put at risk over a non-compete issue. Our lawyers possess an in-depth understanding of legal strategies that the opposing counsel often employs based on our insights gained from representing employers. Our cases are litigated based on that unique point of view.
If you have been served with papers indicating your violation of a non-compete agreement, then an employee rights attorney can advocate aggressively to defend your rights. Give us a call to schedule a confidential consultation and speak with an employment law attorney today.
* Free Case Evaluation is generally not available for Employment Contract and Agreement consultations.