Wellington Non-Compete Agreements Attorney

Requiring employees to sign non-compete agreements can help you protect your Florida business in many ways. However, a non-compete agreement is only enforceable if it aligns with Florida law. If you are not careful when drafting your agreements, you will not get the benefits they provide.

A Florida non-compete agreements lawyer with Gueronniere P.A. can help you develop enforceable contracts that protect trade secrets and guard against unfair competition. We can also help if you need to enforce a non-compete agreement in court. Contact us today to learn more.

What Does Florida Law Say About Non-Compete Agreements?

Florida law allows businesses to establish non-compete agreements. The law allows for enforcement of contracts that include non-compete agreements if they are “reasonable in time, area, and line of business.” A court can’t enforce a non-compete agreement or similar restrictive covenant unless there is a written agreement and the relevant party signed the contract.

To seek enforcement of a non-compete agreement, a business must prove the agreement protects a “legitimate business interest.” Per the law, legitimate business interests may be:

  • Trade secrets (check Florida’s trade secrets law to find out what qualifies as a trade secret in these circumstances)
  • Other valuable or confidential information that doesn’t technically qualify as a trade secret under Florida law
  • Significant relationships (whether they be existing relationships or prospective relationships) with customers/patients/clients
  • Training methods or programs that qualify as “extraordinary” or “specialized”

Another legitimate business interest that can justify a non-compete agreement in Florida is to maintain the goodwill of a customer or client connected with:

  • Ongoing business practices associated with trademarks, trade names, etc.
  • A geographic area 
  • A marketing or trade area

What Does Enforcement of Florida’s Non-Compete Agreements Law Involve?

The remedy you could seek for a violation of a non-compete agreement depends on the facts of the violation. For example, perhaps a former employee of your business takes a job with a competitor. Maybe the nature of their new employment represents a violation of a non-compete agreement. If so, you may take legal action against the former employee, their new employer, or both. Remedies available will depend on your goals, the details of the violation, etc.

A common one in these circumstances is an injunction, which could require the former employee to cease engaging in the violation. Or, if your business sustained losses due to a violation, your business may be eligible to receive some form of compensation accordingly. 

You’re more likely to receive an injunction than compensation if you win your case. Florida judges have pointed out that it can be difficult to determine the full extent of losses or damages a business may sustain as a result of a violation of a non-compete agreement. Thus, the more common remedy is an injunction.

Temporary Injunctions in Florida Non-Compete Agreements Cases

There’s no way to tell how long it might take to legally enforce your non-compete agreement. However, you may be able to get a temporary injunction while your case is still pending. A court might grant a temporary injunction before the resolution of a case if you can show the following:

  • A violation is likely to cause irreparable harm.
  • There is no adequate legal remedy aside from an injunction.
  • The merits of a case indicate you are likely to win at trial.
  • An injunction will serve a public interest.

A court may grant a temporary or “preliminary” injunction if you can establish the above. The temporary injunction will prohibit the former employee who violated their non-compete agreement from continuing to engage in the violation until the case formally concludes.

Be aware that workers also have legal options in these circumstances. For example, a worker may show that part or all of a non-compete agreement is not enforceable. If they can establish that a non-compete agreement is unenforceable, the former employee may convince the court to issue an injunction preventing you from further interfering with their new job.

In addition, before the court enters a temporary injunction, you may need to put up a bond. The court will determine how much money is “proper” for a bond. The amount should factor in the costs a former employee or their new employer may sustain as a result of your case if you’re unsuccessful.

What Types of Prohibitions Can an Injunction Include in a Florida Non-Compete Agreements Case?

The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure require a court to specify the types of behaviors that an injunction prohibits. For example, an injunction might prohibit a former employee from:

  • Working for a competitor within a specific geographic area
  • Sharing trade secrets with a new employer
  • Using trade secrets in their new work
  • Soliciting the business of current or prospective customers

It’s worth noting that non-compete agreements can also apply to independent contractors. However, such agreements need to be iron-clad. Courts may be less likely to enter injunctions against contractors if doing so could unreasonably limit a contractor’s freedom to work for multiple clients in the same industry.

Contact a Florida Non-Compete Agreements Lawyer

A lawyer is critical to helping your business in many ways when developing and enforcing non-compete agreements. They can help you by:

  • Reviewing the details of your business and determining what legitimate business interests a non-compete agreement may protect
  • Developing a non-compete agreement that’s legally enforceable
  • Developing a non-compete agreement that applies to independent contractors
  • Helping you build a case against someone who has violated the terms of a non-compete agreement

While it’s always best to be proactive, these types of cases can arise quickly. If you find an employee is sharing trade secrets with a competitor, you’ll have to act fast to get an injunction and prevent substantial losses. The experienced business law attorneys of Gueronniere P.A. can provide efficient yet thorough service whenever you need help making business plans. Learn more about what a Florida non-compete agreements lawyer can do for you by contacting us online today.