You should be familiar with non-compete agreements if you are a business owner. Experts like Carlos Urbaneja in Miami, Florida, say these agreements can benefit businesses but also be restrictive. This article will discuss the basics of non-compete contracts in Florida and provide some tips for negotiating them.
What Is A Non-Compete Agreement?
A non-compete agreement is a legally binding contract between an employer and an employee that restricts the employee from competing with the employer during or after the employment relationship has ended. Non-compete agreements are typically put in place to protect an employer’s business interests, such as trade secrets, customer relationships, and goodwill.
There are many benefits of having a non-compete agreement in place, including preventing employees from going to work for a competitor and taking your company’s valuable information with them; protecting your company’s customer relationships, and ensuring that departing employees do not start their own competing business that would unfairly benefit from the experience and training they received while working for you.
Carlos Urbaneja says while non-compete agreements can be beneficial, they must be carefully drafted to ensure that they are enforceable under the law. Otherwise, they may be unenforceable and not worth the paper they are written on.
What Are The Restrictions Of A Non-Compete Agreement?
Non-compete agreements are subject to certain restrictions under Florida law. For example, the agreement must be: in writing, signed by the employee; and supported by consideration (something of value given by the employer to the employee in exchange for the employee’s promise not to compete).
In addition, the non-compete agreement must be reasonable in scope. It cannot be so restrictive that it prevents employees from finding gainful employment in their chosen field. The reasonableness of a non-compete agreement will be determined by factors such as its geographic scope, the type of business restricted, and the duration of the restriction.
Finally, courts will only enforce non-compete agreements if they are necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interest. Legitimate business interests include trade secrets, confidential information, and relationships with customers or clients.
How Can Employees Protect Themselves From Being Taken Advantage Of By Restrictive Covenants In Their Contracts?
Carlos Urbaneja says if you are an employee who has been asked to sign a non-compete agreement, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself.
First, you should understand the agreement and what it restricts you from doing. Do not sign the deal unless you are comfortable with the terms.
Second, you can try to negotiate the terms of the agreement. For example, you may be able to get a more limited geographic scope or shorter duration.
Third, if you do sign a non-compete agreement, keep a copy of it in a safe place. This will help you remember the terms of the contract and will also be helpful if there is any dispute about what was agreed to.
When Is It Appropriate To Sign A Non-Compete Agreement And When Should You Refuse To Do So?
Non-compete agreements are most commonly used with high-level employees, such as executives and managers. They are less commonly used with lower-level employees.
If you are asked to sign a non-compete agreement, you should consider whether the deal is necessary from the employer’s perspective. Is the company asking you to sign because they want to protect their legitimate business interests? Or are they asking you to sign because they want to limit your ability to find work after you leave their company?
It would help if you also considered whether the terms of the agreement are reasonable. As discussed above, the agreement must be reasonably tailored to protect the employer’s legitimate interests. If the deal is too restrictive, it may not be enforceable.
Finally, it would help if you thought about whether you are comfortable with the terms of the agreement. If you are not, you may want to try to negotiate the terms or refuse to sign the deal.
Are There Any Exceptions To Florida’s Non-Compete Law?
Yes, there are a few exceptions to Florida’s non-compete law. For example, the law does not apply to salespeople who are paid commissions, terminated employees without cause, or employees who leave voluntarily (i.e., are not fired).
In addition, courts have held that non-compete agreements are unenforceable against certain professionals, such as doctors and lawyers. This is because these professionals have a duty to their patients or clients that supersede their employer’s interests.
Finally, Carlos Urbaneja says courts have also held that non-compete agreements are unenforceable if they are signed under duress or without the employee’s knowledge. For example, the courts may find the deal unenforceable if an employee is told they will be fired if they do not sign a non-compete agreement.
Non-compete agreements can be beneficial for both employers and employees. However, it is essential to make sure that the deal is reasonable and necessary before signing it. Employees should also be aware of the exceptions to Florida’s non-compete law.
If you have questions about non-compete agreements or think your employer may be violating the law, you should speak to an experienced employment lawyer.
If you are interested in even more business-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.