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Answering Questions Regarding Non-Compete Agreements And Changing Jobs

Approximately 20 percent of employees in the United States are bound by non-compete agreements in their workplaces. These agreements, also known as restrictive covenants, restrict employees from engaging in business activities that compete with their employer’s interests after leaving the company. This applies to various roles including employees, independent contractors, owners, part-owners, investors, and others in various capacities.

Additionally, you may also be asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement to safeguard trade secrets and intellectual property.

Non-compete law varies by state. Some states limit their usage due to concerns about hindering business growth. In Florida, non-compete and other restrictive covenants can be enforced if the claim meets the statutory criteria. The geographical area specified in a non-compete agreement may be crucial, particularly with the increasing national scope of many businesses. Employees bound by these agreements may question whether the restrictions are applicable if they move to another county or state.

If you are a Florida employer, employee, or job applicant, and you have inquiries or concerns regarding non-compete agreements, feel free to reach out to Brick Business Law, P.A. Our legal team has over three decades of experience in all issues of employment law, and we can provide guidance on creating effective non-compete agreements or offer insights into your rights.

Non-Compete Agreements in Florida

Florida’s Statutes (Section 542.335) enforce contracts that restrict competition during or after the term of restrictive covenants. To pass legal scrutiny, these contracts must meet the criteria of reasonableness in terms of time, area, and line of business. Overall, a non-compete agreement must safeguard a legitimate business interest and be both reasonable and practical in scope.

Considering geographical factors, an employee’s relocation, or a delay before entering a competitive field can impact the enforceability of a non-compete agreement. Florida employment law statutes impose limits on the duration of such agreements. For employees leaving a company, a non-compete agreement is presumed reasonable for up to six months and unreasonable beyond two years. The reach of modern businesses, facilitated by the Internet and social media, has expanded nationwide, sometimes transcending state boundaries. To enforce a non-compete agreement in another state, pursuing legal action through the courts is necessary but can be time-consuming and costly.

In a scenario where an employee leaves a company in Tampa to work for a competitor in Miami, the enforceability of the non-compete agreement would rely on establishing legitimate business interests in Miami or areas outside of Tampa.

Navigating non-compete agreements requires careful consideration of both employer and employee interests and detailed fact-based assessment. Seeking legal advice can ensure compliance with relevant laws and protect the rights of all parties involved.

Presidential Executive Order on Non-Compete Agreements

In an Executive Order he issued, President Joe Biden took aim at non-compete agreements as a barrier to competition in the U.S. economy. One of the points he made was to make “it easier to change jobs and help raise wages by banning or limiting non-compete agreements and unnecessary, cumbersome occupational licensing requirements that impede economic mobility.” The order directs 12 federal agencies to investigate the issue.

Alternatives to Non-Compete Agreements

Two other approaches to protecting a company’s proprietary interests are through nondisclosure agreements, or NDAs as they are known, and through confidentiality agreements. The two are similar in nature. An NDA requires employees not to share or reveal trade secrets used by the parent company. A confidentiality agreement likewise requires employees not to divulge proprietary information, which is spelled out in the document.

Contact An Employment Law Attorney Today

If you’re an employer considering a first or new non-compete agreement, or an employee who wants to know their options after signing one and moving on to a new job or career, contact Brick Business Law, P.A. You can call us at 888-708-4250 or email us using this brief online form.