Employment Law FAQs
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A non–compete agreement is a contract between an employer and an employee wherein the employee agrees not to compete against the employer during or after employment.
An enforceable non-compete agreement in Florida contains:
- Protection of a legitimate business interest
Florida is a state that permits enforcement of non-compete agreements. Typical non-compete disputes involve these employees:
- Sales people with close client relationships
- Technology staff
- C-level staff who perform highly specialized work or have access to confidential or proprietary information.
Can I enforce this non-compete? Employers that come to Bloodworth Law after there’s a problem with a non-compete want to know if they can enforce it. The non-compete is as good as the attorney that wrote it. There must be a Florida employment attorney experienced in non-competes who writes the non-compete.
Well, there are more questions you have to answer for the Bloodworth Law team before you receive an answer to the question: is my non-compete enforceable or not?
- How good was the attorney who wrote the non-compete? (Sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s not.)
- Employers are you in a panic because “I had them sign this thing and I’ve never actually used it against anyone and I don’t know if it’s worth the cost of the paper that it’s written on. I want to know if I can enforce this?”
- What can I do to stop this person now that I think they’re violating the non-compete?
- Is this an enforceable non-compete agreement in Florida? (Bloodworth Law will have to see it to get you these answers.)
- What is a non-compete and can I enforce my non-compete? (Above answers help Bloodworth Law, PLLC, respond to your questions.)
Do you want to know whether or not you’ve got an enforceable non-compete agreement in Florida? First, there has to be the protection of a legitimate business interest for employers.
You can’t have a non-compete agreement with just anyone. You must have what’s deemed a “legitimate business interest” in having them not compete with you.
Here are legitimate business interests taken directly from the Florida Statute. “A non-compete includes a legitimate business interest such as and this is included and not limited to:
- A trade secret or trade secrets
- Valuable, confidential information that isn’t a trade secret
- Substantial relationships with prospective or existing customers, patients, clients
- Extraordinary training
- Customer or patient client goodwill
- An ongoing business or professional practice, by way of trade name, trademark, service mark, or “trade dress”
- A specific geographic location; or
- A specific marketing or trade area
- Extraordinary or specialized training”
Has a former employee violated a non-compete? That’s 98 percent of the employer contact we have at Bloodworth Law. Employers call because they’ve got somebody who’s signed one of these non-competes that’s going off and doing something the employer doesn’t like and they want to know what they can do about it. We’ll have to see the non-compete and get answers to questions to respond.
Employers have had issues come up and were burned by a weak non-compete. Many employers don’t have non-compete agreements. They contact Bloodworth Law when they want to create a non-compete agreement for new hires and existing employees to sign.
At Bloodworth Law, we represent employers accused of discrimination or harassment and employees who are victims of discrimination or harassment.
You can run a successful business managed by people who try to do the right thing, but there may be an employee accused of discrimination or harassment by another employee.
Maybe you’re an employer and have been served with a demand letter from a plaintiff’s attorney that wants you to write a big check.
Maybe an employee has requested time off or for an accommodation for a disability and you don’t know what to do next. You want to follow the law and take care of your employee.
Have you received correspondence from the EEOC, or the Florida Commission on Human Relations, and learned that you’re being investigated?
Whether the issue relates to race, gender, disability, age, or any of the other protected classes, you have a legal problem and you’ll need an employment law firm to help steer you through what may become very messy.
Discrimination. Harassment. You may be the most professional, hard-working employee there is. You’re educated, honest, responsible, and you follow the rules.
However, you may also be in a situation involving the most unbelievable discrimination or harassment by a co-worker, boss, business owner, or even a customer. Maybe you get denied raises and promotions because of who you are.
Often the statement is made that “I am not the kind of person who sues people, but I just can’t take it anymore.”
It’s at this point that you should speak with Bloodworth Law about what happened and find out if the situation can be resolved and what can be done to stop the harassment or discrimination.
Employee discrimination and harassment cases include representation of an employee who feels they’ve been discriminated against on the basis of:
- Gender identity
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
How many hours did a Florida employee work and when does overtime occur? The laws regarding overtime and minimum wage are very technical and complicated so problems often arise for employers and how wages are paid for overtime or minimum wages.
Other common problems are in regard to:
- Exempt classification
- Tip credits
- Tipped minimum wage
- Proper calculation of overtime
Do not make assumptions about overtime, hourly or minimum wage laws. Companies are often surprised by how these laws work and don’t have any idea they are breaking the law, especially companies based outside the U.S. that do business and have employees in Florida.
Bloodworth Law also represents employees who feel that they have not been receiving appropriate minimum wage or overtime pay, or who have been misclassified as exempt employees.
Start with a consultation on employment law to establish best hourly and overtime practices and provide legal support to your human resources staff.
Bloodworth Law can provide an employment law consultation to Florida employers on policies and procedures, employee handbooks, employment agreements, and employee issues.
Providing current policy and adhering to employment law procedure prevents problems and there are great benefits to having an employment law consultation.
Bloodworth Law in this way helps internationally-owned companies doing business in Florida. If you own a business in the U.S., the laws require employment law adherences that may differ greatly from practices in other countries.
Employers can get answers to questions about terminations, hourly and minimum wage issues, employment agreements, and business transactions involving employees.
You may have a human resources department or staff, but unless you have a Florida employment lawyer on the team, you’ll need to consult with an employment law firm. Review practices and set employment procedures that adhere to Florida law.
Bloodworth Law can help by:
- Writing employment policies
- Create custom human resources handbooks
- Draft employment contracts
- Draft non-compete agreements for potential or existing employees
Bloodworth Law works with businesses of all sizes to develop legal employment law policies to avoid liability in hourly and wage disputes, employee contracts, harassment and discrimination law, and non-compete agreements.
Most non-competes are written to cover just two years. That’s what most people do just because six months is too short and you want to do the maximum that you can without it being presumed to be unreasonable.
One year is the second most common length of time seen. But the point for this discussion is in order for it to be enforceable, whatever timeframe it is, has to be reasonable.
In terms of timeframe, in order to be enforceable, the timeframe within a non-compete must be reasonable. And we can get into what exactly that means in terms of actual time periods from the statute:
- A timeframe of six months or less is presumed to be reasonable.
- A timeframe of more than two years is presumed to be unreasonable.
Anything in between is neither a presumption nor applies. The court just calls it like they see it.
Clients pay attorney fees after a case is completed, if and when it pays out.
Contingency fee means that the client pays legal fees when the lawyer and case brings in money from the legal actions taken. Reed immediately begins work on the case to pursue a legal action. Clients, meanwhile, are not billed, have to write a check, or pay by credit card to get a case moving. Every case is reviewed and there is no guarantee that it will qualify or be accepted as a contingency fee case, but you will find out by talking with Reed.
Contingency fee cases are available for business litigation, and for trust litigation and probate or estate litigation cases.