In a previous post, our blog discussed how popular fast food giant Jimmy John’s was requiring workers in many states to sign non-compete agreements and discussed whether such instruments would likely be enforceable here in Florida.

To recap, state law will only consider non-compete agreements valid if they are enforceable for a reasonable amount of time and are limited to protecting a business’ interests, such as trade secrets or its geographic location.

Discussions about non-compete agreements, otherwise known as restrictive covenants, naturally raise questions about what prospective employees should do when confronted with the prospect of signing such a document, which could see their career options severely limited.

While the natural inclination might be to refuse to sign a non-compete agreement, the reality is that doing so may cost a person the job altogether. As such, many workers — especially those who are younger or lacking experience — may feel obligated to just accept the terms of the non-compete agreement as they are and hope that it never becomes an issue.

According to experts, however, people should understand that an employer might be willing to negotiate the terms of a non-compete agreement. Indeed, if they are willing to do so, they recommend going through the document carefully — or even hiring an attorney — to identify potentially problematic elements.

Some of the issues experts indicate that new hires will want to pay particularly close attention to and negotiate with their employer as they relate to non-compete agreements include:

  • The geographical scope of the agreement
  • The length of the agreement
  • The prospective employers covered by the agreement
  • The circumstances under which the agreement is triggered

If you would like to learn more about your rights and your options as they relate to non-compete agreements, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

Source: Lifehacker, “What you need to know before signing a noncompete agreement,” Jessica Hullinger, June 18, 2014