Non-solicitation agreements can stop former employees from taking customers, clients, and other employees away from employers who have spent considerable time and expense cultivating them. Non-solicitation can be addressed in sections of a more comprehensive agreement that stops former employees from competing with, disparaging, or disclosing employers’ confidential information or trade secrets. These can also be standalone agreements along with other restrictive covenants.
As a well-practiced attorney can explain, employees have brought lawsuits over restrictive agreements, calling them restraint of trade. As such, you should contact a Florida non-solicitation agreements lawyer to make sure your documents pass the scrutiny of state law.
Most employees leave an employer on good terms and with fond feelings for the work experience. However, this is not always the case. To ensure a former employee does not exploit what they have learned about the inner workings of a company, an employer may ask for their confirmation of four restrictive agreements:
Although Florida is considered business-friendly, its laws try to strike a balance between what is fair to all parties. To ensure a non-solicitation agreement will pass in Florida, seek advice from a skilled attorney.
Florida Statutes Section 542.335 details the law dealing with restraint of trade through restrictive covenants. An employer can require employees to sign non-solicitation agreements, and they will be valid if specific criteria are met.
The employer must show a legitimate business interest in enforcing the restrictive covenant. The interest could be in protecting a pre-production formula for a vaccine or a comprehensive list of clients.
The non-solicitation agreement must encompass a reasonable geographic area and duration. The Court would strike down an agreement that prohibits a former employee from soliciting employers worldwide and forever. In Florida, the duration of this restrictive covenant is typically two years.
The language in the agreement must be clear and understandable, based on the industry at its heart. For instance, an agreement concerning pirating clients from a biotechnology business would probably be more technical than one from the retail ice cream business. Our dedicated local attorneys can draft a non-solicitation agreement that is specific and reasonable so that it will pass muster in the Florida courts.
Florida is more lenient than some states dealing with soliciting clients. In Georgia, former employees are not permitted to accept business from clients and customers they are aware have customers of the former employee. However, in Florida, if a former client or customer voluntarily follows an employee and requests their services at the new business, the employee can legally accept that business, according to JKR Inc. v. Triple Check Tax Service Inc., 736 So. 2d 43 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999).
The presumption from this case is that the former employee did not solicit the client, but the client learned where the employee ended up working. Employers who believe former employees might be soliciting clients by communicating their new addresses should contact a skilled restrictive covenants lawyer to investigate.
Employees are by far some of the most significant assets for your business. Their dedication and innovative ideas contribute much to your success. Unfortunately, sometimes they cause trouble and try to steal your employees or clients as they move on. There are ways of preventing this and protecting your business.
Restrictive covenants included in employment or standalone agreements could help prevent pirating and address issues in Florida court. At Sparks Law, we understand that these agreements must protect your investment and reasonably allow your departing employee to make a living. A Florida non-solicitation agreements lawyer on our team can draft restrictive covenants for your business and defend them in court if a former employee breaches their contract. Call today to schedule your initial consultation.