A covenant not to compete refers to a clause in a contract where an employee of a company agrees not to pursue a similar profession or trade in competition with a current or former employer. Also referred to as non-compete clauses, these covenants can be difficult to enforce, especially if an employee alleges they were coerced into signing an agreement containing these restrictions. Legal issues generally arise in this regard when an employee either leaves or is terminated from one position and then goes to work for a competing employer, or seeks business from his or her former employer’s customers. Litigating non-compete clause violations can be time consuming and very costly for all parties involved, especially the aggrieved employer. Moreover, these lawsuits are often complex, multi-faceted and may include claims raised by several different parties.
Florida law provides that non-compete clauses and agreements can be enforced pursuant to the following legitimate business reasons:
- To protect valuable trade secrets