Non Compete Agreements, Florida Law
Do you need legal assistance with the preparation, review or litigation of a non-compete agreement?
From our law office in Tampa, the Lubliner Law Firm represents clients throughout Florida with non-compete and contract negotiations. For a free consultation with a non-compete attorney in Tampa Bay including areas in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Manatee, Marion, Sumter, Hernando, Citrus, Charlotte, Lee, Collier and Sarasota Counties, please contact Lubliner Law Firm for an appointment.
What is a Non Compete Agreement?
A non-compete agreement, non-compete clause (NCC), or a covenant not to compete (CNC), is a term used in contract law. Generally speaking, it is usually when one party, most often an employee makes a contractual agreement not to enter into or develop a similar profession or trade which will cause competition with the other party which is most often an employer.
Who Needs a Non-Compete Agreement in Florida?
The need for non-compete agreements can arise not only to protect specific interests of employment relationships, but can also apply in stockholder agreements and they are frequently utilized when selling a business.
Non-Compete, Anti Trust Act & FL Statutes
The starting point for Florida law relating to non-compete agreements is found in Florida’s Anti Trust Act which is governed by FL Statutes §542.18.
This Florida Anti-Trust Act is similar to the Federal Law which is the Sherman Antitrust Act. These laws makes all contracts, combinations, and conspiracies that unreasonably restrain interstate and foreign trade illegal. Violations of the Florida antitrust law and the Federal equivalent can hold both civil and criminal penalties when violated.
The Florida non-compete statute is a very specific exception to the antitrust laws. It says, in part:
(1) Notwithstanding s. 542.18 and subsection
(2), enforcement of contracts that restrict or prohibit competition during or after the term of restrictive covenants, so long as such contracts are reasonable in time, area, and line of business, is not prohibited. In any action concerning enforcement of a restrictive covenant:
(a) A court shall not enforce a restrictive covenant unless it is set forth in a writing signed by the person against whom enforcement is sought.
(b) The person seeking enforcement of a restrictive covenant shall plead and prove the existence of one or more legitimate business interests justifying the restrictive covenant.
What Exactly is a Trade Secret?
A trade secret is defined as an idea, process, or formula that gives the owner a competitive edge, and certain laws protect them from becoming public. By definition alone, it may seem feasible for an employee, employer, shareholder of a corporation or independent contractor to enter into agreements without the advice of counsel. Florida’s Anti Trust Law and the Florida Statutes that govern non-compete agreements however is exhaustive and complex. Therefore non compete agreements should be entered into with care.
Lubliner Law firm can assist you in the preparation and review of non-compete agreements, as well as the enforcement of a non-compete agreement should the need arise. If you are being sued or have been fired for non compliance of a non-compete agreement, it is important to consult with an attorney with experience in Anti-Trust and Non-Compete agreements. As with most lawsuits, time is of the essence. An experienced Tampa antitrust attorney, knowledgeable in the complexities and changes in Florida Anti Trust law.
What Types of Actions are Covered by Anti Trust?
When drafting a non compete contract, there are many actions that should be addressed as Florida law governs how these may be enforced. Some of the actions are as follows:
- Pricing policy
- Terms of trade
- Customer and territory selection
- Bundling of services
- Advertising and sales technology
- Mergers and acquisitions
Florida Non Compete Agreements and Contracts