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Can you go to court in Florida to enforce a noncompete agreement?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2022 | Complex Business Litigation

Employers in Florida assume risks when they hire new workers. A company never knows when an employee might harass or abuse coworkers, or make mistakes on a production line or a construction project that cause expensive claims against the business.

Employees are also a risk because they can take the information they learn at a company and the people they meet while employed there and then use that knowledge and those connections to damage the company that previously employed them. Especially when it comes to high-ranking executives, managers and those with access to intellectual property, trade secrets and client lists, businesses have an interest in preventing unfair competition from those workers in the future.

Having new hires sign noncompete agreements is a common way for businesses to reduce risk of unfair competition. Will the Florida courts uphold noncompete agreements if a company alleges that a worker violated their contract after leaving the company?

In certain cases, the Florida courts will uphold restrictive covenants

There are multiple state rules that govern the enforceability and validity of restrictive covenants like noncompete agreements. Generally, the company will need to limit the scenarios in which it can enforce the agreement.

It is common for such agreements to last for a specific amount of time and to cover only a specific geographic area. The company also needs proof that the worker received something of valuable consideration for making concessions about future employment or their right to start a competing business. If the company included terms that were too broad or did not compensate the worker for signing, then the courts may not uphold the agreement.

Provided that there are appropriate limitations and that there was proper compensation, then the courts may uphold the agreement.

Your restrictive covenants should be enforceable, not just deterrents

Some companies include restrictive covenants in contracts even when they know they cannot enforce them, such as when they operate in California. They treat these clauses as deterrents to prevent employees from considering misconduct.

While deterring workers from doing something that harms our business is a good move, it is also important to be able to stop them from unfairly competing with your company by creating enforceable, valid contracts. Reviewing and possibly updating your employment contract and restrictive covenants will help you achieve your desired outcome during business litigation about a breach of that agreement.