As a Florida business owner, there are several legal tools available that you can employ to protect the interests of your business. One of these tools is a non-compete agreement, a type of contract that can make sure your business-related private information stays where it belongs, even if an employee goes to work somewhere else in the future.
When non-competes are properly drafted, it is a great way for you to shield your business from the potential negative impacts of your proprietary information getting into the wrong hands. In most cases, an employer will have an employee sign these agreements at the beginning of his or her employment, and the terms will go into effect upon the end of that individual's employment with the company.
Drafting enforceable agreements
Often, former employees will challenge the terms of a non-compete agreement. Courts are likely to scrutinize these agreements and even rule part or all of the agreement invalid if it is unfair, unreasonable or unfairly limits the former employee's ability to make a living. One way to ensure that your agreements are enforceable upon challenge is thoughtfully and carefully drafting these contracts. Your agreements should do the following:
- Clearly outline the necessary protections of legitimate business interest
- Contain terms that are reasonable in their reach and duration
- Include considerations for the employee signing the contract
One of the main factors in protecting your business through a non-compete agreement is to be reasonable with what you hope to protect and accomplish through these agreements. Violation of the employee's rights or an unfair effect on his or her long-term interests could lead to a judge ruling your agreement invalid if challenged.
Once both parties sign a reasonable non-compete agreement, you will have the right to seek a legal remedy if the employee violates his or her obligations outlined in the agreement. You have the right to seek a stop to continued damage to your company and restitution for any financial losses you already suffered as a result of a breach of this type of employment contract.
The ways you can protect your business
Whether it's a secret recipe, a manufacturing process or even a client list, you have the right to protect the things that sets your business apart from the competition. You may find it beneficial to seek a complete evaluation of your case, which can help you understand the protections you need to have in place or how to proceed if a former employee violated a non-compete agreement.