Hi, I’m attorney Reed Bloodworth, managing partner of Bloodworth Law in Orlando, Florida.
As an Employer Can I Enforce a Non-Compete?
One of the first questions that you’ll ask is, “as an employer can I enforce a non-compete?” I’ll address whether employers can enforce a non-compete agreement with a former employee who is alleged to have breached the agreement.
If you come in to see a lawyer AFTER there’s a problem, you’re already in an unfortunate position. A non-compete agreement is only as good as the attorney that drafted it. Let’s look at the key elements involved in a valid non-compete.
Is the Non-Compete Enforceable?
We handle employment litigation across the state. To answer the question, “is the non-compete enforceable?” there are really two things that we look for:
1. A non-compete must be reasonable: Reasonable in time, geography, and scope.
2. A non-compete must be justified by a legitimate business interest.
Reasonable in Time
Reasonable in time is generally considered to be six months to two years that a non-compete may last. Anything over this length of time may not be considered reasonable.
Reasonable in Geography
Is the non-compete reasonable in geography? A Florida non-compete is limited to where you do business. If you don’t do business in New York, you’re going to have difficulty enforcing your non-compete against someone in New York.
Finally, there has to be the protection of a legitimate business interest for employers. Merely wanting someone to not compete with you is not a legitimate business interest.
Legitimate Business Interests
Here are legitimate business interests taken directly from the Florida Statute which include:
- A trade secret
- Valuable, confidential information
- Substantial relationships with clients
- Extraordinary or specialized training
- Customer goodwill
- An ongoing business or professional practice, by way of trade name or trademark
- A specific geographic location
- A specific marketing or trade area
These are the legitimate business interests, the reasonable lengths of time, geography and scope that are needed to enforce a non-compete.
When you’re wondering if you can enforce a non-compete and want to know what to do next, give me a call. Let’s talk about how Bloodworth Law can help you or your business.