A non-compete agreement is a form of a contract between an employer and an employee, that can restrict what the employee does during his employment with the employer and afterward for a certain amount of time with respect to competition.
They are enforceable in Florida to the extent that they’re written, signed by the person against whom it’s to be enforced, and that they’re reasonable in duration, in geographical scope, and that they’re supported by a legitimate business interest.
If the duration is less than 2 years after the termination, that’s going to be found to be reasonable. If it’s a geographical scope somewhat similar to what the employee was working in, that’s going to be found to be reasonable. And a legitimate business simply is what it says.
It’s got to be based on some actual assets of the company that they fear to lose. If you are a restaurant owner and you have your waitresses sign a non-compete that’s kind of silly, it’s not really supported. They’re not going to hurt your business if they work for a competitor.
They are risky in the sense that you can have damages if you get sued for violating one. You could have liquidated damages which means $10,000 per violation, whatever it says in the agreement. There’s a prevailing-party attorney fee provision. And your new employer can be drug into the litigation.
If you are a restaurant owner and you have your waitresses sign a non-compete that’s kind of silly, it’s not really supported.
So if you signed a non-compete and you’re looking to make a change, you should come see us so we can evaluate as to whether your new plans would violate the agreement. If you’re going to sign up for a new job and they’re asking you to sign a ono-compete, you should bring it to us to look at before you sign it so we can help you understand what you’re getting yourself into.
John Bolanovich is an Orlando commercial litigation and employment law attorney with Bogin, Munns & Munns, a full service law firm with offices in Orlando, Clermont, Cocoa, Kissimmee, Orange City, Daytona Beach, Ocala, Melbourne, Gainesville, Titusville, St. Cloud, The Villages, and Leesburg. He welcomes questions and comments regarding the above and can be reached at [email protected].
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