Non-compete contracts have gained popularity during the past decade and these agreements regularly appear in onboarding documents for new employees. Some employers are now requiring even long-term employees to sign non-compete agreements in exchange for a promotion, benefit or pay increase.
Naples non-compete attorney Jason L. Gunter has 18 years of experience in labor and employment matters. He is certified by the Florida Bar in Labor and Employment Law and has dedicated his career to improving the workplace for businesses and workers throughout the Southwest Florida communities of Naples and Fort Myers. Gunterfirm helps employees understand exactly what rights they are waiving before signing a non-compete agreement and helps negotiate fair terms. In addition, he drafts agreements that comply with Florida employment, commerce and contract statutes.
Legitimate Business Interest
A non-compete agreement is supposed to protect a business’s investment in its employees and its competitiveness in the market. The contract bars employees from using trade secrets and special training and skills to compete with the business. However, the non-compete clauses are generally skewed toward the business and may unfairly restrict a worker’s career and financial opportunities.
Florida Statute 542.335 requires businesses to have a “legitimate business interest” to uphold a non-compete agreement — referred to as a restrictive covenant. The law gives examples of legitimate business interests, including the protection of:
- Trade secrets
- Confidential business information not classified as trade secrets
- Client and customer relationships or prospects
- Goodwill associated with a trademark, geographic location or marketing area
- Specialized or extraordinary training provided to the employee
Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements
A non-compete agreement that does not protect a legitimate business interest or is too restrictive is unenforceable. For example, courts will not enforce a contract that places limitations on a former employee’s rights for too long a duration, too wide a geographic area or too broad a job description. The amount of time and length of distance that can be restricted depends upon numerous factors, including the type of business, the market of existing business and the position of the employee.
A business may place greater restrictions on an executive who received costly specialized training and had access to trade secrets than on an entry level worker, for instance. Also, a business with a coast-to-coast market could impose wider physical restrictions than a local company with a limited range.
Our firm analyzes the contract to determine whether the scope is too broad regarding time, duties, geography or market. We take steps to protect the rights of our clients to earn a living free from unreasonable encumbrances.
Learn More About the Scope and Enforceability of Non-Compete Clauses in Florida
Jason L. Gunter, P.A. is a Southwest Florida law firm that represents businesses and employees in non-compete negotiations and agreements. Gunterfirm will protect your right to earn your livelihood in your chosen field by negotiating fair non-compete agreements and defending you against unreasonable terms. Call our experienced employment and labor law firm at 239.334.7017 or contact us online.
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"I am a retired lawyer and an inactive CalBar member. I contacted Mr. Gunter, acting as a business consultant for a small business, regarding a lawsuit against that business within his specialty of employment and labor law. The issues were wrongful termination and Wage-Hour Law violations. I cannot recommend Mr. Gunter highly enough. The results were very favorable."