A non-compete agreement is a contract, or a clause in a contract, that prevents an employee from working for a company’s competitor. If you are wondering if it is possible to get out of a non-compete agreement in Florida, an experienced Florida employment attorney from Mark J. Berkowitz, P.A., can help.

Legally Valid Non-Compete Agreements

If the non-compete agreement you signed is legally valid, you are bound to it. However, you might be able to negotiate with your company and exit the agreement early. Working with an experienced employment lawyer in Florida can help you understand your options and provide advice throughout these negotiations.

Invalid Non-Compete Contracts

Not all non-competes are legally enforceable. If the agreement is invalid, you may be exempt from abiding by it.

Employer Breach of Contract

Often, contracts include requirements for the employer and the employee. Employers are typically responsible for fulfilling their commitments to you, the employee, by providing compensation, benefits, and insurance for a certain time.

If your employer did not honor their contractual obligations, you may not be required to follow the non-compete agreement. 

No Legitimate Interest

A non-compete agreement must protect a company’s “legitimate business interests.” They cannot ask employees to sign them unnecessarily. Legitimate interests that non-compete agreements protect include:

  • Trade secrets
  • Confidential business information
  • Extraordinary training

Sometimes, employers overreach and ask an employee to sign a non-compete agreement even if the company does not have a genuine business interest that a non-compete would protect. If an employee has no confidential information, an employment rights advocate can help argue that their non-compete agreement is invalid.

Unreasonable Time Period

Courts typically consider a non-compete agreement valid for anywhere from six months to two years. Anything over two years may be considered overly restrictive and difficult for an employer to justify as reasonable. A workplace discrimination lawyer can help you argue against the unreasonable length of an agreement.

Company Secrets Are Public Knowledge

An employer must prove that any company or trade secrets they protect in a non-compete agreement are secret. This means proving that the information is neither available nor accessible to the general public.

If someone can discover the so-called “secret” information on the internet, it is not confidential and, therefore, not a legitimate reason for a non-compete agreement. Florida workplace attorneys can work with an employee to prove that their former company’s secrets are not classified to help the employee get out of a non-compete agreement.

Public Health or Safety

Sometimes, a non-compete agreement puts public health at risk. This is most common for doctors and health researchers. For example, a skilled surgeon whose expertise could save lives at another company cannot be asked to abide by a non-compete agreement. 

An Experienced Lawyer Can Help

While it may feel daunting, it is not impossible to exit a non-compete agreement. In some cases, you may have to negotiate with your former company to exit your agreement. In other cases, you may be able to determine that the agreement itself is not legally valid.

No matter the case, a Florida employment attorney can provide insight and guidance through the process of trying to exit a non-compete agreement. Reach out to Mark J. Berkowitz, P.A., for experienced assistance today at (954) 527-0570.