Handling a No-Compete Employment Clause

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:

Trade secrets
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.

Necessity of Help for Employment Litigation

Any lawsuit may spell serious trouble for a business, especially if it is a new or a small one. It assumes greater proportions in case the plaintiff is an employee, past or present. You need to get in touch with a capable employment attorney for active defense in such circumstances.

When does retaining legal counsel become imperative?/b>

Here are a few instances-

You are facing an investigation by the federal or state agency on grounds of employment law violation. Whether it is the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission or the Florida equivalent of it, you need legal counsel to ensure that it does not reach unmanageable proportions.

You are facing a lawsuit claiming a violation of a federal or state employment law. It can be anything – a violation of the American with Disabilities Act, a discriminatory termination, or a sexual harassment. Proper legal representation is necessary to avoid the negative consequences of such litigation.

You are facing litigation concerning the non-compete agreements an employee refuses to adhere to. Interpretation of the terms and conditions in the agreement to defend your side is the chief task of the Fort Lauderdale employment attorney.

How could an attorney be of help?

The important points in this regard are as follows –

The attorney has the necessary knowledge of the federal and state laws to understand the matter and the legal interpretations and implications.
The attorney has the necessary certification to represent you in case the litigation reaches the trial stage.
The attorney has the necessary experience in similar employment cases making it easier for him/her to handle your case.

Why is defense essential?

Without adequate, and timely, defense, an employer may end up in serious legal trouble. If you lose, it may mean considerable financial losses. Litigation implies waste – of time and money. In such a circumstance, losing the suit only doubles your monetary losses.

You may have to provide the employee with back pay, wages and benefits, as well as court costs and attorney fees. You may also need to reinstate your employee, or give him/her a promotion and a raise.

However, these are not of as much consequence as the loss of your reputation. Losing a suit may not mean much for a business, but the associated taint on your record may be quite a concern. You need timely and effective defense immediately. This is the reason you need to find an employment attorney for advice and representation.