Florida Restrictive Covenant/Non-Compete Agreement Lawyer
Do you have questions about your Employment Agreement, including a non-solicitation agreement, non-compete agreement, or confidentiality agreement? At Scott Wagner and Associates, we represent employees in negotiating and defending against claims related to your employment agreements. We assist physicians/practitioners, managers, executives, and employees for their questions regarding enforceability of the agreements and provide defense in matters of litigation.
Generally speaking, there are three different kinds of restrictive covenants that can appear in employment contracts: non-compete agreements, non-solicitation agreements, and non-disclosure agreements. A non-solicitation agreement usually restricts an employee’s ability to solicit employees or customers in a certain manner, while a non-disclosure agreement prohibits an employee from disclosing information about the employer, such as trade secrets.
A non-compete agreement, differently, restricts an employee’s ability to compete (typically with the employer) for a certain period of time and sometimes within a specific geographic region. In other words, a non-compete agreement is designed to prevent the employee from competing with the employer in some capacity.
Non-Competition (“Non-Compete”) Agreements
Under Florida law, non-compete agreements can be enforceable, but with exceptions. We can help employees with identifying potential exceptions to the enforcement of non-competes. Employees may have defenses against enforceability of non-compete agreements, including that the agreement is too broad for geographical reason, is not narrowly tailored to protect the employer’s legitimate business interest, or is too long in time.
If an employer wants to put a non-compete agreement in an employment contract, it needs to have a legitimate business interest that justifies the use of that non-compete agreement.
What is a Legitimate Business Interest Under Florida Law?
Florida law defines a number of items as “legitimate business interests,” including but not limited to:
- Trade secrets;
- Valuable confidential business information that is not a trade secret;
- Substantial relationships with specific prospective or existing customers, patients, or clients;
- Customer, patient, or client goodwill associated with the employer’s ongoing business or professional practice, specific geographic location, or specific marketing or trade area; and
- Extraordinary or specialized training.
In order to enforce a non-compete agreement, Employers must also uphold their obligations to the Employee. This includes paying the employee their agreed salary and benefits and following all other obligations in the Employment Agreement/contract. Similarly, if the employer does not act in good faith towards you during your employment – like engaging in discrimination or whistleblower retaliation – you may have additional defenses.
Commonly, issues about non-competes arise when an employee is leaving their employer and going to work in a competitive capacity. However, employees should not wait until that time period to start thinking about their non-compete. The best approach to non-competes is for a review before you sign your agreement, especially as you may have negotiation power before you sign.
If you have questions about non-compete agreements and legitimate business interests, negotiating your non-compete, or enforceability of the agreement, we can help. If you have been threatened by an employer about your non-compete, non-solicit, or confidentiality agreement or sued for allegedly violating the agreement, it is important you take action to defend yourself immediately. Lack of action can result in a judgment against you. Contact Scott Wagner and Associates to schedule a consultation and discuss your questions about non-competes, non-solicits, and confidentiality agreements.