We assist with disputes concerning non-compete, non-disclose and non-circumvent agreements between employers and their former employees. The non-compete agreements are controversial in many states as courts do not desire to force someone out of employment or out of their profession, regardless of the terms of the agreement.
While controversial, non-compete agreements can help a business retain valuable employees, protects its confidential information, trade secrets and customers, and prevent unfair competition. Generally, a non-compete agreement is a contract between an employer and an employee in which the employee agrees not to compete with the employer before or after employment for a specific period of time or within a specific area. In practice, a this kind of agreements prohibits an employee from engaging in business activities that competes with his or her currents employer’s business. The non-compete agreements typically include clauses protecting trade secrets and restricting where employees can work after they leave.
“Protecting your business interests is our top priority.”
Non-compete agreements can also be used between business partners or joint venturers in various business contexts, although these agreements are not always enforceable to the extent business partners wish
However, non-compete agreements are entered into between partners to prevent competition and deter the partners from making side deals or starting a competing business. Naturally, business partners and joint venturers spend time together developing the business, and each gain insights into the business, experience and connections to suppliers and customers that are valuable for the business. Without a non-compete agreement, when a partner leaves the business, he or she would be able to use all the resources and information acquired during the partnership to start a new competing business. Alternatively, without a non-compete agreement, a partner can use the insights, know-how and connections to male side deals while remaining a partner.
Provisions regarding trade secrets are often included in this type of agreements. The trade secret protection is designed to keep a company’s proprietary information secret and it usually covers company product information, sales strategy and client lists. Because trade secrets give a company a competitive advantage, non-compete agreements can be more restrictive in scope and duration when they relate to the use of trade secrets in the competitive enterprise. For example, it is acceptable for a former partner to set up a separate business and advertise for the same client base as his or her former company, but it is a misappropriation of trade secrets for the former partner to use customer list and directly solicit clients from the previous enterprise.
Because non-compete agreements are so restrictive, even when well drafted and properly executed may be restricted and often not enforceable
Non-compete agreements are subject to the laws of the states, and each state in the United States has its own unique laws about whether, when and to what extent this kind of agreements are enforceable.
In Florida, the non-compete agreements are subject to Florida law and their enforceability is highly reliant on the individual circumstances of the parties to the agreement. A court might refuse to enforce the non-compete agreements for various reasons. Hiring a qualified, experienced attorney can help assist the individual or small business in forming, enforcing or settling a dispute arising as a result of a non-compete agreement.
Contact us, your business attorney in Florida, to assist you with your non-compete agreements.