Mark J. Berkowitz
Non-Compete Clause Attorney
Mark J. Berkowitz
A non-compete clause is a restrictive covenant in a contract that requires one party (usually an employee) to refrain from competing against the other party (usually an employer) for a pre-specified period of time. Before signing a non-compete agreement, it is imperative that employees have a full understanding of their obligations and duties under the terms of the contract.
Unlike some other U.S. states, non-compete clauses are legal in Florida. That being said, Florida courts are still somewhat skeptical of all restraints of trade or commerce. Non-compete clauses must meet certain strict legal standards in order to be enforced. If you have already signed a non-compete agreement, it may not be enforceable in Florida.
Mark J. Berkowitz is an experienced Fort Lauderdale non-compete clause attorney. For over thirty years, Mr. Berkowitz has successfully assisted workers in South Florida with a wide range of employment & labor law issues, including the drafting and negotiating non-compete agreements as well as non-compete clause litigation. If you have any questions or concerns about non-compete clauses, please do not hesitate to contact our Fort Lauderdale law office today for immediate legal guidance.
When are Non-Compete Agreements ‘Unenforceable’ in Florida?
If you signed a non-compete provision in Fort Lauderdale, this aspect of your employment contract is generally governed by state law (Florida Statute 542.335). This statute outlines the specific requirements that non-compete provisions must conform to in order to be legally valid in our state. Specifically, a non-compete agreement is only enforceable in Florida if the court deems it to be:
- Reasonable in duration;
- Reasonable in geographic area; and
- Reasonable in area of business.
By law, non-compete agreements must be relatively narrow. Companies must demonstrate that they have a legitimate business interest in enforcing the provision, and that the specifics of the non-compete clause are reasonably narrow. While Florida courts will certainly enforce non-compete agreements when appropriate, any non-compete clause that is too broad or too restrictive can be thrown out. It is important to remember that just because you signed an employment agreement with a non-compete clause, this does not mean that the non-compete is actually valid.
Non-Compete Litigation: Employees Must Be Proactive
In regards to non-compete agreement litigation, employees must take very quick action to protect their rights. The reason for this is that Florida employers typically will move for a temporary injunction at the beginning of the litigation process. In other words, the employer (the plaintiff) will seek a restraining order that can be used to prevent the employee (the defendant) from accepting another position with a competitor or engaging in a competing business. If granted, this injunction will bar the employee from working. If a company is attempting to enforce a non-compete against you, it is crucial that you consult with a Fort Lauderdale non compete lawyer who can protect your rights.