What is a Non-Compete Agreement?


Any documents pertaining to your employment, whether for a new company or to continue your current work, should be handled with care. For many employers, drawing up a non-compete agreement can help serve their needs while limiting their employees. If you are asked to sign a non-compete agreement by your employer, make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into.

A non-compete agreement, also called a covenant not- to- compete and requires an employee to provide a certain degree of loyalty to their place of employment. This can mean a number of things but typically prohibits the employee from starting a competing business, working for a competitor, or giving away trade secrets. Non-compete agreements are often used in medical, sales, and technology fields where information pertaining to each company is considered particularly important. Employers may also use these documents to ensure employees do not also take work at other businesses in the same field where there will be a conflict of interests.

While these agreements protect the employer from additional competition, they can sometimes undercut the employee. In order to be legally valid, a non-competition agreement must be created out of protect the legitimate business interest of the employer and must make reasonable requests in regards to time and region. That is to say, the agreement must be clear about how much time must pass before an employee may work in the same field, or what region they may not work in.

Sometimes non-compete agreements are intentionally broad in scope, limiting an employee in more ways than he or she may initially realize. Employees who sign non-compete agreements may sometimes put the employee at a disadvantage in the future, even preventing him or her from earning a living. If you are presented with a non-compete agreement by your employer or future employer, seek legal help before signing. There are many ways in which an agreement could be unreasonable and numerous specifics, particularly dates and regions, which should be outlined in detail for the benefit of the employee.

It is also important to recognize that even if you have signed already signed a non-compete agreement, there may be legal defenses to enforcement. Do not assume that threats of legal action by a former employer require you to forfeit a valuable career opportunity.

Contact The Law Office of Shands M. Wulbern, P.A. to request a consultation regarding your non-compete agreement.

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