Non-compete agreements, also called restrictive covenants, are documents or clauses in a contract prohibiting employees, contractors, or consultants from working at or owning a competing company during or after employment. In addition, these individuals are barred from soliciting clients of a former employer. Non-compete agreements are also utilized in the sale of a business. The purchaser may require the seller to sign a non-compete agreement to prevent the seller from opening a competing business or contacting the customers of the sold business. There is generally a geographical area where an employee, ex-employee, or prior business owner must refrain from being a competitor and a specified timeframe.
Prohibiting Unfair Competition in Business
Corporate industries such as information technology, financial markets, retail businesses, and manufacturing companies frequently utilize non-compete agreements. Florida law recognizes the validity of non-compete agreements to protect a company’s business interests, as long as the terms are considered reasonable. An example of unreasonable or unfair competition is an ex-employee utilizing a copy of a company’s client list to solicit business or opening a similar business in close proximity to the ex-employer.
Best Practices to Ensure the Validity of a Non-Compete Agreement
Non-compete agreements can prevent unfair competition. Every business owner should consider the benefits of having a non-compete agreement. Florida law requires non-compete agreements to be in writing and signed by both parties. These documents will be under judicial scrutiny if a dispute arises. A non-compete agreement should be carefully drafted and customized by an experienced business law attorney knowledgeable in a specific industry and an employee’s role in the company. The conditions of the document should be reasonable in terms of geographical area and time frame.
In addition, it should not impose an undue hardship on an employee, such as making them unemployable in their field. An employer should recognize that an employee needs time to seek legal counsel to review the agreement before a signature is required. Buyers of a business should make sure that the established non-compete documents for employees include a provision that allows the assignment of the agreement to the purchaser of a business.
We Protect the Rights of Employers and Employees
At Myers Law Group, P.A., we have extensive experience drafting non-compete agreements for companies and reviewing these documents for employees. We have represented countless employers and employees in claims regarding violations of non-compete agreements. These are complex cases, proving claims or defending against claims that restraint is necessary to protect a legitimate business interest. The strength of a non-compete agreement depends on the employer’s consistency to enforce it and the document meeting specific standards.
Contact the Myers Law Group, P.A. at our DeLand, Florida office for a confidential appointment to discuss your concerns and options. Call us today at 386-873-7835. We represent businesses and employees in Volusia, Seminole, and Orange Counties, Florida.
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