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Non compete contract Florida

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  • Non compete contract Florida

    Hi all,

    A relative if mine is currently in great distress. She really wants to leave her job and work for another company in the same industry who is actually a current client of hers. She gets paid a median salary with a promise of a bonus. They nest company is going to double her pay. She has brought in millions of dollars for her current company and a HUGE client list that she was able to sell to and retain as clients.

    The issue here is that my relative cannot just leave her current position because she signed a non compete contract when she was hired. She was hurried to sign the non compete and not given the oppurtunity to consult an attorney. the non compete is a load of crock but seems air tight. This company has managed to make it impossible for its former employees to work in the same idustry for the nest two years after they leave the company. I must also add they have never actually gone after any former employee who has left to work for a company in the same industry. For some reason, we are both convinced they will legally pursue their claim against her because of the outrageous sales this person has been able to accomplish for said company.

    My question is, is a non compete even legal in Florida? I dont believe it is okay for a company to hold someone back from making a living because of irrational fears of competetion. This is my relatives lively hood. She is under great stress over this and needs guidance. She cannot really afford to consult with an attorney at the present time and doesnt want anyone finding out.

  • #2
    Non competes are legal in Florida. Whether or not any given non-compete is enforceable is a different question. Note that just because the concept of a non-compete is a legal one does not mean that each and every non-compete in Florida can be enforced. Only an attorney in Florida who has read the non-compete in question can say yea or nay.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

    Comment


    • #3
      This is what Fl. says about noncompetes:

      Florida law, while strictly construing noncompete agreements against enforcement, does allow for such agreements. They must be in writing; reasonable in time, geographic area, and line of business, and reasonably necessary to protect one or more legitimate business interests. In the context of the traditional employer and employee relationship, courts will presume any restraint six months or less in duration to be reasonable and more than two years in duration to be unreasonable.

      However, you do need have an employment or contract attorney in your area read the noncompete for his/her opinion & advice.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        You say that your relative can't afford to speak to an attorney, but in fact it seems she can't afford NOT to speak to an attorney if her livelihood is on the line. As for anyone finding out, an attorney must maintain client confidences so talking to an attorney should not pose a risk.

        Florida, like most states, does enforce non-competition agreements if they are reasonable in scope (including appropriate limitations on time and geography). The key is that what is reasonable varies greatly from one situation to the next. No one can give your relative any guidance without knowing the exact contractual language as well as all of the relevant facts.

        Even then, there is usually very little that is purely black and white. "Fifty shades of gray" could well describe the range of possible answers to whether a non-competition agreement is enforceable. As a result, there is almost certainly going to be some risk in your relative's situation, but a knowledgeable attorney will be able to help your relative understand the risk.
        David K. Staub (www.illinoisbusinessattorney.com)
        Forum posts are not legal advice, are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for proper consultation with legal counsel.

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        • #5
          One other thing to consider....if this company is a client, it could well be that there is a contract/agreement between the two companies that the client company has stated they will not steal the provider's employees. This might not be something that she or the people at the company she is talking with even know about. I've been personally involved in a situation such as this and it is not always a simple as whether a NCA is enforcable. Definitely seek the advice of a local attorney.

          Comment


          • #6
            Agreed with the other answers, particularily the need to talk to a local attorney. Just to be clear, we have two different issues in play. A NCA (between employee and employer) and probably a seperate unrelated agreement between the employer and the client. Even if the NCA is invalid (and only a local attoreny who has actually read the agreement can answer that), the other agreement could still be valid. I am not in FL, and am no an NCA expert. But I am in CA and here most NCAs are invalid, but most agreements between employer and client (if well written) are valid. If this third party agreement exists, there is every possibility that the employer will legally pressure the client the terminate the employee, and the NCA will not cover that one way or the other.

            This really is not a DIY issue. The employer really needs to talk to a local attorney before taking any further decisions. Very agreed with the earlier comment that the employee cannot afford to NOT talk to an attorney.
            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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            • #7
              She can leave ... she just needs to abide by the agreement. It's also not clear whether she signed a non-solicitation agreement, or whether this agreement contained such a component.

              "the non compete is a load of crock but seems air tight."

              I'd like to think your friend has consulted an attorney.

              "This company has managed to make it impossible for its former employees to work in the same idustry for the nest two years after they leave the company."

              No such agreement would be enforceable in general.

              "She cannot really afford to consult with an attorney ...."

              I have no idea why people say this, when they are usually just spouting off without having bothered to figure out what an attorney would charge to give them an opinion about the agreement. And saying you can't afford $500-1,000 (or whatever) just doesn't make sense even if she'd have to borrow the dough. At any rate, has she bothered to ask this prospective employer to pay for a review of the document?

              Comment

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