Do the Florida Civil Courts Uphold Noncompete Agreements?
Aug. 22, 2022
Employees and employers often have conflicting needs when starting a new employment arrangement. A business wants to minimize its operating costs while maximizing the return on the investments it does make. Workers want job security and competitive compensation combined with appropriate and modern benefits.
Negotiating an employment contract often means carefully balancing these two competing sets of interests. Noncompete agreements can protect companies from the risks that come with each new hire. Workers may have to give up some of their future employment mobility in exchange for the most competitive wages or the best job opportunities.
Most individuals who sign noncompete agreements will move on to other employment later without any complications. However, sometimes employers allege that a former worker violated a noncompete agreement by starting their own business or accepting a specific job at another company. Will the Florida courts enforce noncompete agreements after allegations of violations?
Yes, Florida Will Protect an Employer’s Rights
In theory, a company can enforce a noncompete agreement against a former employee by taking that worker to court. Provided that the agreement itself is valid and that there is evidence that the worker’s new enterprise or employment arrangements are a violation of that pre-existing agreement, an employer can potentially secure a hearing in civil court to enforce their noncompete agreement.
However, they will typically need to convince the courts that the noncompete agreement is necessary for the company’s protection and that the terms set in it are not so broad as to unfairly limit the future opportunities of the employee involved. Typically, noncompete agreements are the easiest to uphold when they include both geographic and temporal limitations on their enforceability.
Many Employment Conflicts Settle Outside of Court
While it may seem like an insurmountable issue when a worker disagrees with a former employer about what jobs they can take, it is common for employment-related contract matters to settle outside of court. Both parties may be able to negotiate an arrangement that offers adequate protection to the company while not unfairly infringing on a worker’s ability to monetize their skills and knowledge.
Educating yourself about the Florida approach to noncompete agreements can help you evaluate an employment contract or a dispute scenario.