Non-compete agreements, or non-competes as they are regularly called, can be a valuable tool to Florida business. But non-competes are very complex instruments - and most non-compete agreements are not worth the paper they’re written on. Even lawyers often have a difficult time drafting and preparing enforceable non-compete agreements.
The experienced business and corporate attorneys at the Byrne Law Group have years of experience with non-competition agreements - preparing them, enforcing them, or defending against them.Discuss your non-compete questions today with Attorney John Byrne by calling 813-413-6565 today to schedule an appointment.For non-compete agreements to be enforceable in Florida, they must meet certain, specific requirements.Non-competes must be NARROW!The more broad a non-compete agreement is, the less likely it will be enforceable!Most “stock” or pre-printed non-compete agreements, including many which are downloadable from the internet, are overly broad and are virtually worthless.Few, if any, Florida judges will enforce an overly broad prohibition on competition.
Non-Competition Agreements Are Enforceable In Florida
A well prepared non-competition agreement is enforceable under Florida law!In Florida, non-competes are governed by Section 542.335 of the Florida Statutes. Under this section, to be enforceable, these agreements must protect a “legitimate business interest” and be reasonable in scope and duration. The statute defines the legitimate business interests as:
- Trade secrets;
- Valuable confidential business information that does not qualify as trade secrets;
- Substantial relationships with specific prospective or existing customers or patients;
- Customer or patient goodwill associated with an ongoing business or a specific geographic location; and
- Extraordinary or specialized training.
The party seeking to enforce a non-compete in Florida must demonstrate at least one of these legitimate business interests.
Length Of Time
Two years is the maximum time a non-compete agreement is enforceable, except in very rare and specialized situations.Agreements over two years in length may be reduced by the courts to a maximum of two years, or they may be voided entirely.Exceptions exists for the sale of a business, but generally, non-competes in Florida must be less than two years.
Reasonable Geographic Restrictions
Non-compete agreements must contain reasonable restrictions on where a person can work. Simply specifying that an individual cannot work anywhere in Florida is not likely to pass judicial review.On the other hand, courts have enforced non-compete agreements prohibiting competition in counties where an employee previously worked.The devil is in the details with non-compete agreements, and different situations require different approaches.
We can provide an excellent and cost effective alternative to "big law firm" representation. As a small boutique firm, we can develop a custom fee arrangement that makes sense for you. We can tailor a fee arrangement that suits your needs based upon competitive contingency fees, hourly rates, or blended hourly and contingency fee arrangements. If you are an institutional client, please ask us about our competitive rates for volume-portfolios.
Discuss your business practices today with experienced contract attorney John Byrne or another experienced legal or financial professional by contacting the Byrne Law Group today at 813-413-6565.