Even though most of our Florida readers know much of what goes on in the courtrooms of other states has very little bearing on our own judicial processes, there are those few out-of-state cases that can grab national attention. One in particular, the case of Jimmy John's and its non-compete agreements, may have grabbed the attention of our readers as well, forcing them to ask an important question: how would Florida law apply in this case?
As you may know, some employees in other states called out Jimmy John's several months ago for its use of non-compete agreements in states that considered such covenants to be void. This questioning of a company's employment contract led to a lawsuit that appears to still be in the courts. So would such a covenant be allowed here in Florida? The answer is likely yes.
Under Title XXXIII, Chapter 542, Section 542.335 of our state's codes, non-compete agreements, which are also called restrictive covenants, allow an employer to use these clauses in employment contracts as long as the agreement is enforceable for a reasonable amount of time and is limited to protecting a business' interests, such as trade secrets or its geographic location.
Although the non-compete clause found in Jimmy John's employment contracts may seem vague, it's possible that it could meet the standards handed down in our state's codes. If a court were to rule in the same way, then such covenants would be allowed here in Florida, despite the disappointment this may cause employees who are affected by it.