Why Florida Employers Need Non-Competes

Why Florida Employers Need Non-Competes


I’m attorney Reed Bloodworth, managing partner
of Bloodworth Law in Orlando. We work with employers and employees across
the state of Florida on employment law issues. I’m talking today about non-competes which
are often introduced by employers to protect the financial and confidential interests of
a business. A non-compete agreement is a contract between
an employer and an employee to protect intellectual property, proprietary products or services,
and to prevent competition in a clearly outlined legal document. A non-compete can prohibit an employee from
engaging in a business that competes with a current employer’s business, or from sharing
confidential information with others. There is no such thing as a standard non-compete
agreement. They’re drafted by employment attorneys
and customized to protect the employer. An employer cannot require an employee to
sign a non-compete, employers may terminate an employee, or choose not to hire a person
refusing to sign it. As an employer, you may sue and go to court
seeking what is called an injunction or a restraining order to prevent an employee from
violating your agreement. Violation of a non-compete agreement can cause
an employer immediate financial harm and the court can use expedited procedures in these
cases. Once an employer requests an injunction or
a restraining order it may only be a matter of days or weeks before there is a hearing
scheduled before a judge. First, look at the terms of the non-compete
itself. Does it address termination? Assuming it does — and that it says the non-compete
still applies even if an employee is terminated — the next question would be: is that legal? The answer varies. If the reason for a termination is employer
misconduct — discrimination, illegal activity by the employer or similar misconduct – then,
most courts would hold that a non-compete is no longer enforceable. If the reason for termination is employee
fault — attendance, poor performance or similar problems — then the fact that an employee
was terminated will probably not be as significant. An employer should draft non-compete agreements
only through an employment law firm. And likewise, employees should have an attorney
review the non-competes they are asked to sign. Again, I’m attorney Reed Bloodworth, managing
partner of Bloodworth Law in Florida. Let’s talk about how Bloodworth Law can
help you or your business.

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