Is it possible to walk away from your employer and join its competitor? If there was a non-compete clause in your employment, this may not be this easy. Majority of employers have a restrictive clause in the employment agreement that you need to sign before you join any organization. This restricts your scope of employment later.
If you did not get an employment attorney to review your employment agreement before you signed it, you may have no idea about how the non-compete clause affects you. Moreover, it is enforceable as per the Florida Statutes Section 542.335 under certain circumstances. Here is a quick look at the details.
When is such an agreement enforceable? The agreement is enforceable only if it protects a legitimate business interest. Here are the acceptable ones:
Confidential business information of substantial value
Relationships with prospective/existing customers of substantial value
Customer goodwill related to a business or the geographic location of a business
Training of extraordinary/extraordinary nature
Moreover, the restrictive clause must be reasonable in nature and duration to be enforceable.
What legal consequences may you face if you violate this clause? Such an action may lead to financial penalties as well as injunctions to restrict further violations. In most cases, an employer would ask for a temporary injunction and a subsequent hearing. The court may order such an injunction within three months from the date of filing in Florida.
What do you do if there is an allegation of violation? The most important thing to do is find out a Fort Lauderdale employment attorney for consultation. It was possible to avoid such a legal hassle if you consulted him/her before you signed the non-compete agreement. However, it is never too late.
What strategies may you use for defense? The most popular strategy in use is to prove that the employer was at a breach before your breach. Suppose your employer failed to pay you the leave pay you were entitled to get. In such a situation, the court of law may deem the agreement not enforceable.
If the restrictive clause in the employment agreement is too broad, in scope or duration, the laws permit the Florida court to -blue pencil’ it. In such a circumstance, the court may reduce the restrictions of the non-compete agreement. Your employment attorney knows best which strategy to use if you ever face an allegation of violation of the clause.