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Is the non-compete your employer wants you to sign legal?

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2023 | Employment Law -- Employee |

Many employers in the state of Florida often require their employees to sign noncompete agreements. These contracts, often contingent on an employment offer, limit the employee’s ability to work in a similar industry or start a competing business after leaving their current job.

Noncompete agreements are legal in Florida, but to be enforceable, they must meet specific requirements.

Key components of a legal non-compete agreement

A non-compete agreement in Florida is legal if it notes a restriction on a reasonable geographic area and duration. The employer also has to demonstrate that the restrictions protect legitimate business interests, such as trade secrets, valuable confidential business information or significant relationships with specific prospective or existing customers.

Overly restrictive agreements

Sometimes, non-compete agreements may become overly restrictive. If an agreement tries to prohibit an employee from working in a similar job anywhere in the state or for an unreasonably long period, a court may rule it unenforceable. However, rather than dismissing these contracts entirely, Florida courts can modify or “blue pencil” them to make them reasonable.

Defenses against non-compete agreements

Employees who believe a non-compete agreement is unreasonable may contest it in court. They could argue that the agreement is too broad or that the employer has no legitimate business interest to protect.

However, contesting a noncompete agreement requires a comprehensive understanding of Florida’s laws and can become complex. Seeking guidance from an employment law attorney is a good first step to determining your rights.