Sunday, June 25, 2017 01:56

Non-Compete Agreements – Part I

1. What is a non-compete agreement?

Non-compete agreements, also known as covenants not to compete, are simply contracts or provisions of contracts where one party agrees to refrain from conducting business similar to that of the other party. The general purpose of these agreements is to restrict the ability of employees who sign the agreement to go into business against the employer within a certain geographic area for a certain period of time. If you sign it, typically you are agreeing that you will not compete with your employer by engaging in any business of a similar nature, as an employee, independent contractor, owner, part owner, significant investor, and whatever other form of competition your employer identifies to cover its bases.

2. Am I required to agree to a non-compete agreement?

No. However, if you don’t agree to the non-compete, you may not get a prospective job, or depending on the circumstances you could lose your current job. Florida is an at-will employment state, so that unless you have an employment contract currently in place, you can be fired (or you can quite) at any time for any legal reason. Of course, the terms of the agreement may or may not be enforceable, but that is a different matter as to whether or not you can be required to sign it.

3. Is it legal to deny me a job just because I refuse to sign a non-compete agreement?

Typically, yes,

4. What factors do courts look at to determine whether a non-compete agreement is reasonable?

Some factors include: scope of the agreement with regard to definition and type of business, geographic area restriction, and time duration of the agreement.

5. What are considered legitimate business reasons that will justify an employer’s enforcement of a non-compete agreement?

Some examples include trade secrets, confidential information, and substantial relationships with prospective or existing customers, patients, or clients.

For additional information, please contact The Gordon Law Firm | P.A. at www.thegordonfirmcom

“Making the law work for you and your business”

In Part II, look for further information on restrictions in non-compete, post-employment non-competes, and more.

If you need assistance understanding your rights regarding a non-compete agreement or you are a business that wishes to draft or enforce a non-compete, please contact The Gordon Law Firm in Oldsmar, Florida.   The Gordon Law Firm serves all of Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco Counties including the cities of Oldsmar, Clearwater, Tampa, New Port Richey, Westchase, Tarpon Springs, and St. Petersburg, as well as the entire Tampa Bay area. 

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