Non-Compete & Unfair Competition Firm Based in Miami-Dade County
A non-compete clause, or covenant not to compete, is a clause in an agreement under which one party agrees not to enter into, or start, a similar profession or compete against another party. These types of agreements are frequently referred to as “restrictive covenants.” In Florida, non-compete agreements may be enforced by courts, although enforceability is subject to defenses. For example, the scope of the non-compete and whether the employer is protecting a legitimate business interest as defined by the law. The requirements and limitations of non-compete clauses are based upon case law as well as a detailed statute, Fla. Stat. § 542.335.
In order to enforce a restrictive covenant, a person must show that the contractually specified restraint is reasonably necessary to protect a legitimate business interest. Under Florida law, a legitimate business interest includes trade secrets, confidential information that does not otherwise qualify as a trade secret, a substantial relationship with specific prospective or existing clients, patients, or customers, and client or customer goodwill associated with an ongoing relationship.
The person opposing enforcement must establish that the contractually specified restraint is overbroad, overlong, or otherwise not reasonably necessary to protect a legitimate business interest. If a contractually specified restraint is overbroad or not reasonably necessary to protect a legitimate business interest, Florida law requires a court to modify the restraint and grant only the relief reasonably necessary to protect an interest. Courts in Florida presume that any restraint in time which is 6 months or less is reasonable, while also presuming as unreasonable any restraint in time that is more than 2 years in duration. To be enforceable, a non-compete agreement must be in writing and signed by the person against whom enforcement is sought.
Also, in determining the enforceability of a restrictive covenant, Florida law does not allow courts to consider any individual hardship that might result from enforcing an otherwise valid non-compete agreement. However, courts must determine whether enforcement of a restrictive covenant will impact public health, safety, and/or welfare.
Lawyers from BT Law Group have extensive experience drafting and enforcing non-compete agreements as well as advising employers, executives, professionals, managers, and hourly workers about the interpretation of, and pitfalls associated with, non-compete agreements. Contact the attorneys at BT Law Group for a consultation.