The business world has become so competitive today that many companies are requiring that their employees sign non-competition agreements (“non-compete” agreements) as a condition of employment. Our Miami commercial litigation lawyers know how these agreements are essentially restrictive covenants that limit the time, place and manner in which an employee can work if he or she chooses to leave a particular job. For example, if you work in the high frequency trading industry and you wish to work for a different company, your non-compete agreement may restrict you from working in that same field for at least one year. Whether this is fair depends on a number of factors.
In Florida, Fla. Stat. § 542.335 is the governing law regarding the validity of non-compete agreements. These restrictive agreements are completely legal so long as the following conditions are met:
• The agreement must be reasonable in time, place and manner, meaning the agreement cannot restrict your ability to work in an area of business outside the realm of your former employment;
• The agreement must be signed by the employee; and
• There must be a legitimate business interest for the imposition of the restrictive non-compete agreement (such as the protection of trade secrets, confidential business information, interference with customer base, the risk of a former employee going to a competing company that is within the same geographical area, etc.)
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