Non-compete agreements are common in many employment contracts, and their primary purpose is to prevent an employee from leaving their current employer and immediately working for a competitor. In Florida, non-compete agreements have gained widespread attention due to the state’s unique laws surrounding them.
Non-compete agreements in Florida are governed by Florida Statute § 542.335. Under this statute, non-compete agreements are only enforceable if they are reasonable in scope, duration, and geography. The agreement must protect a legitimate business interest, such as trade secrets, confidential information, or customer goodwill. If the non-compete agreement is too broad or overly restrictive, it may be found unenforceable in court.
In addition to these requirements, Florida law also requires employers to provide employees with adequate consideration in exchange for signing a non-compete agreement. This means that the employee must receive something of value, such as a promotion or increased compensation, in exchange for agreeing to the non-compete. If the employer fails to provide adequate consideration, the non-compete agreement may be deemed unenforceable.
Another important aspect of non-compete agreements in Florida is that they are not automatically assignable to a successor employer. This means that if an employee’s current employer is acquired by another company, the non-compete agreement may not necessarily carry over to the new employer. The new employer would have to obtain a new non-compete agreement from the employee.
It is also worth noting that non-compete agreements are not enforceable for all types of employees in Florida. For example, doctors, lawyers, and certain other professionals are exempt from non-compete agreements, as it is deemed against public policy to limit their ability to practice their chosen profession.
In conclusion, non-compete agreement laws in Florida are complex and require careful consideration when creating and enforcing these agreements. As an employer, it is important to ensure that your non-compete agreements are reasonable, provide adequate consideration to employees, and protect legitimate business interests. As an employee, it is crucial to understand your rights under Florida law and to seek legal guidance if necessary.