When does one need a Miami non-solicitation attorney? Many companies require their employees to sign a variety of employment contracts, such as non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), non-compete agreements, and/or non-solicitation agreements. An employer can benefit from the assistance of an experienced attorney who can verify the enforceability of such contracts. An employee can also consult a non-solicitation agreement attorney to determine whether a contract is enforceable.
What Is a Non-Solicitation Agreement?
A company may require an employee, partner, or independent contractor to sign a non-solicitation agreement, keeping them from soliciting clients, contractors, and employees to benefit themselves or any third party, including a competitor, during and after the party’s employment or business relationship with the company ends. Florida Statute § 542.335 sets out the limitations and requirements of a valid and legally enforceable non-solicitation agreement.
A business must have a reasonable justification for restraining the employee from harming the company’s legitimate business interests—such as, but not limited to, protecting trade secrets, customer relationships, and customer contact information—for a non-solicitation agreement to be legally enforceable.
When an employee opposes the enforcement of a non-solicitation agreement, the employee must establish that the restraints in the contract are too long, too broad, or too vague. If the restrictions in time and geographic area are unreasonable, a Florida court can use its discretion to modify them. This revision by the court is known as “blue-penciling.”
To have an enforceable agreement, an employer must ensure the non-solicitation agreement is in writing and signed by the employee. It is not necessary for a non-solicitation agreement to be notarized.
Why You Need a Miami Non-Solicitation Agreement Attorney
Non-solicitation agreements are legal contracts. Unfortunately, many people sign them without reading the fine print or wholly understanding the terms.
Oftentimes, an employer will not write the non-solicitation document; instead, they will work with a Miami non-solicitation attorney to draft one. The company’s attorney will cover all aspects that favor the company, which is why an employee should consult the employee’s own employment agreements lawyer before signing such a document.
Employment law attorneys understand the legal terminology and the implications, so these lawyers have the expertise to advise you when the agreement is unreasonable or unenforceable. If you are an employee, an attorney can negotiate on your behalf for better terms in the contract and notice any loopholes that might benefit you or hurt you if you decide to leave the company.
Understanding the Enforceability of a Non-Solicitation Agreement
Non-solicitation agreements are generally enforceable in Miami as long as they are deemed reasonable by a court of law. In Florida, employment is “at-will,” which means an employer can fire an employee at any time and for whatever reason, as long as it’s a legal one. Illegal reasons include discrimination (based on sex, race, religion, or other protected classes) or retaliation against whistleblowers.
The requirements for a non-solicitation agreement’s enforceability include:
- The contract must be in writing and must be signed by the employee.
- The employer must have legitimate business interests they seek to protect, such as trade secrets and client lists, and they must be clearly stated in the agreement.
- The employer must set a reasonable duration for the agreement.
- The employer must specify a reasonable geographic area in which the restrictions of the agreement apply.
An example of conduct that could amount to a violation of a non-solicitation agreement is if a former employee actively seeks out their former colleagues, enticing them to leave the company and join the former employee in a new business venture. This is applicable whether the former employee has begun working for a new company or if the former employee has established their own business.
What Happens if You Violate a Non-Solicitation Agreement?
If you were previously employed by a company that bound you with a non-solicitation agreement, you need a lawyer to help you understand the terms. Violating a valid non-solicitation agreement may result in your former employer filing a lawsuit against you and/or your new employer or business. The suit might seek financial compensation for losses and damages, or seek an injunction against you or your new employer or business that compels you and/or the new employer or business to honor the terms of the agreement, or both.
The court might also issue a restraining order, forbidding you from contacting your former employer’s staff or clients.
How Can a Miami Non-Solicitation Agreement Attorney Help?
You will need a non-solicitation agreement lawyer’s experience in various instances, including:
- Employee: If you leave a company and your former employer accuses you of violating the agreement terms
- Former Employer: You determine that after leaving your company, your former employee violated the terms of a signed non-solicitation agreement
- New Employer: Your new employee’s previous employer files a lawsuit against the employee for violating the terms of the agreement, and you want to help defend your employee
Non-solicitation agreements are legal and binding contracts, and it’s difficult for a layperson to know whether they are enforceable or not. If your employer threatens you with a lawsuit after leaving the company because you violated the contract terms, a non-solicitation agreement attorney can help with your defense.
If your employer is open to negotiation, your attorney can attempt to come to a favorable compromise. If this proves impossible, your Miami non-solicitation attorney will defend you in court and inform you of your obligations under Florida’s employment laws.
If your former employer sues you for solicitation in violation of your agreement, you must engage a lawyer as soon as possible. For defense against a non-solicitation lawsuit, contact a Miami non-solicitation attorney today.