Non-Compete Agreement Law in Florida for Employers
Serving You and The State of Florida
Non-compete laws are a standard part of business contracts for many industries. There are various reasons that you might want to include this kind of clause in a legal document that is signed by employees or business partners. If you have never used this form of protection for your business, you have probably been involved in many business disputes that could have been more easily resolved.
Having a skilled lawyer create and verify the language of your non-compete agreement is key. You need to be sure that your agreement is compliant with Florida law, and you also need to be sure that the agreement will hold up in court. Being sure that you have a non-compete clause in all of your hiring and business contracts is easy when you let the Lopez Law Group work on your contract drafting processes. We have years of experience with creating non-compete agreements that protect the business interests of Florida business owners.
What Are the Standards for Non-Compete Agreements in Florida?
There are various strict standards that must be followed in the state of Florida in order for your non-compete to hold up in court and be useful for your business needs. You will want to ensure that any non-compete contract or clause that you are creating will be useful when you need to protect your business interests. These clauses come in handy when someone leaves the company or when a business owner sells their shares to move on to other projects.
Without a non-compete in place, you cannot be sure that this other person will not attempt to steal your business or create a copycat business in your neighborhood. Non-compete agreements can be viable in any industry, but they are quite common in industries to do with the development of products, sales, and cutting-edge technologies. Basically, any company that has business assets that need to be protected could use a non-compete agreement to make sure that these assets are not stolen or used to found other companies.
For your non-compete agreement to be valid in the state of Florida, these specifications must be met by your document:
1. It Protects a Legitimate Business Interest
You cannot make a non-compete that does not cover a valid business interest. This means that you cannot create a non-compete that employees have to sign just because you want to have one in the contract that is signed when someone is hired. There needs to be a legally valid reason that you will have to protect your business from product information theft or from technological theft for a non-compete to be enforceable and appropriate. Your non-compete must protect a genuine and valid business interest to be worth drafting. You cannot just create a non-compete to try and prevent your former employees from working for competitors or force people with the same knowledge as yourself out of the state that your business exists in.
2. Your Non-Compete Must be Reasonable in Scope and Nature
There are limitations to what you can ask an employee or shareholder to promise in your non-compete agreement. They must be limited to specific geographic areas and time durations by the contract they are signing. You will usually only be able to enforce a specific set of time for the other person to refrain from engaging in similar business practices, such as six months or a year. Once this time period has ended, the non-compete is considered invalid.
If your non-compete is too restrictive, it will often be thrown out by a court of law as unenforceable. You will need to be sure that you allow the team at Lopez Law to review and verify the details of your non-compete. This will prevent issues related to any agreement that is too limiting to be legally upheld.
Can Employees Negotiate Early Exit From These Agreements?
Employees in the state of Florida can sometimes legally escape from the strictures of this kind of non-compete agreement. This usually happens when an agreement is too restrictive or when the non-compete is invalidated by other errors that have been made during its creation. This is why it’s so important to have a skilled legal expert create your non-compete. Without proper language and correct limitations on the power of this document, the document might not be useful for business purposes.
You do not want to allow employees who have valuable knowledge about your business practices and your business technologies to be able to create competing businesses right in your backyard. You also want to protect your company from these people taking your product information with them to another company and helping that business to supersede yours. You will need to be certain that the non-compete that you have created is not too restrictive or too broad to be of any use in the state of Florida.
What Kinds of Things Can be Limited in a Non-Compete Agreement?
Non-competes can cover all kinds of different things. You might limit former employees from being able to start new businesses within a certain number of miles of your existing business. You might also limit the kinds of products that they can create if they are allowed to have a business near you. You can limit many different factors that might impact your business, but you cannot control if the person gets another job or if they work in the same industry outside of the range of the non-compete.
Confidential information might also be protected by these kinds of agreements, and you might be able to extend a longer duration to cover these kinds of information. You could also negotiate a non-compete that prevents the person from sharing information about specific parts of your manufacturing or sales processes for a set number of years. There is room to customize these agreements, but they cannot limit a former employee or business partner so much that they cannot earn a livelihood or work in the same industry as you.
When you try to limit too many things within a non-compete, it will often be ignored by a judge if there is legal action taken against your company to break the agreement. Likewise, if the language of your non-compete is too broad and does not protect anything at all, what was the point of even making the document? This clause or agreement must be carefully worded to be effective, which is why you will want to have a legal expert looking at the documents that you already have in place, or you might want to create new non-compete clauses that are more accurate and effective.
What Can a Lawyer Do For Your Florida Business Non-Compete Agreements?
Having a skilled legal team working on your documentation related to non-compete clauses and contracts is essential. You will need to be sure that these agreements will hold up in a court of law and that they will also be reasonable and limited enough to be enforceable. This is not the kind of document that you can just copy from the internet and then change a few words around. You will need these clauses and agreements to be written carefully in order for them to be effective.
Having skilled legal counsel on your side can make a big impact on the viability of your contracts of various kinds as well as the way that these contracts can be used. There will, unfortunately, be instances where you need to use the clauses related to legal action within these documents, which means that they need to be written correctly to be effective. Generating legal documents that cannot be utilized is a waste of time and can also put your business into a situation where you cannot protect your business from being damaged in a variety of ways. When employees leave a company, it is important that you protect the interests of your business with carefully drafted non-competes and hiring clauses.
Working With a Skilled Lawyer Matters
If you have been trying to go it alone on your legal documents for your business, you need to be sure that you hand over this important work to a skilled legal expert. There are many aspects of contract writing and business agreements that are best handled by an experienced lawyer. The team at Lopez Law Group can ensure that all of your hiring contracts and your non-compete contracts are correctly drafted and made to hold up in court. No matter how specific or how general your documentation needs to be, the team at Lopez Law can verify the legality of these legal documents and ensure that they can be used correctly when they are needed.
Contact us today and schedule a consultation so that we can get started supporting your business needs with correctly drafted and legally binding documentation. Having the right language in your non-compete agreements can make all the difference when it comes to the enforceable nature of these documents. Being sure that you can protect the assets of your business and prevent direct competition when someone leaves your employment is critical to business success.
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