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Non-Compete Agreements


Delegal & Poindexter is committed to providing our clients with a thorough review of their rights and knowledgeable representation in all non-compete agreement disputes and related concerns.

The area of employment law governing non-compete agreements is very complex and seldom do the parties involved recognize the full extent of their rights. In fact, many times these cases are decided at a preliminary injunction hearing within a few days of filing a complaint for relief. In light of that fact, the ability to quickly litigate very complex issues in non-compete litigation is critical.

If you are in a non-compete or other restrictive covenant-related dispute, it is important for you to obtain competent counsel and to fully preserve all of your rights in the litigation. To make an appointment to speak with a Jacksonville employment law lawyer about your situation, contact our Jacksonville law offices today.

We represent both employers and employees in non-compete cases and are committed to protecting our clients’ rights.

Across the board, a common misconception among employees is that non-compete agreements are not enforceable in the state of Florida.

Non-compete agreements are enforceable, although there are specific legal burdens that an employer must meet, as well as certain defenses against enforcement available to the employee.

For Employers

In Florida, statutes provide that certain agreements which restrict the ability to work in a particular region and in a particular industry or business may be valid. The Florida statute which governs employment agreements entered on or after  July 1, 1996 focuses on the “legitimate business interests” of an employer. The statute is designed to allow enforcement of restrictive covenants only when such legitimate business interests are present.

There are a number of potential legitimate business interests which can be asserted, including:

  • Misappropriation of trade secrets and confidential information
  • Detrimental impacts on the relationship the employer has with its customers based on direct and specific contact with the employee
  • Other valuable confidential business or professional information that otherwise does not qualify as a trade secret
  • Customer goodwill associated with an ongoing business, or a specific geographic, marketing, or trade area
  • Providing extraordinary or specialized training to the employee

In addition to proving legitimate business interests, employers are required to show evidence that the restrictive covenant is necessary to protect those interests and prevent injury to the employer. All non-compete and other restrictive covenants must be reasonable in terms of geographic area and length of time according to the guidelines established by the statute.

For Employees

If you are an employee who has signed a non-compete agreement with your employer, you should know that there are several defenses that may prevent enforcement of a restrictive covenant. These include:

  • Establishing that the employer breached the agreement by failing to provide certain compensation, benefits, or employment conditions
  • Establishing that the employer engaged in conduct that violates specific laws
  • Establishing that the restriction is not necessary to protect the employer’s interest or that the scope of the agreement is unreasonable

Under the equitable doctrine of “unclean hands” if your employer has engaged in unlawful conduct such as sexual harassment, failing to pay wages or bonuses, discrimination, or preventing you through other means from performing your job successfully, then your employer may be prevented from pursuing a non-compete agreement.