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A non-comptetion agreement in Florida means what? Seriously, I don't get it. So, I can't switch companies or what?

Tampa, FL |

Can I only hold this role/position with my current employer? What if I need to change location and therefore employer/company? Will I be found guilty of something?

But what if I want to change companies because of commuting issues, would I be out of a job? They say your first job defines you forever, so now I'm worried..

Attorney Answers 4


It all depends on what the agreement says. It can restrict you from certain types of work for a specific period of time and a specific location. If you have been presented with or have signed a non-compete agreement that you don't understand, consult an employment attorney for clarification.

Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.

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The agreement may or may not be enforcable (legal). Depends on the exact language of the document. We can't see your document and can't really give you a meaningful answer except to quote the case law ( I am not a FL attorney, but as a general rule NCA are legal if they are narrowly scoped (or more accuratly, not broadly scoped). Sorry couldn't help you more--take the document to a local attorney for a quick read.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.

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Assuming the non-compete is subject to Florida law, you should know that these types of agreements are specifically allowed and are subject to modification by Florida courts to make them "reasonable" even if they appear to be unreasonable on their face. For general information, please see Fla. Stat. § 542.335. The analysis is complicated and requires a detailed factual understanding of the type of business the company is engaged in and whether it has a legitimate business interest in protecting competition. Further, there is no information about the geographic scope of the agreement or the time period at issue. There are many other issues to be addressed but, clearly, the most important thing at the outset is the language of the document itself. An attorney should be retained to review the document.

The questioner should consult an attorney for a detailed analysis and a formal opinion.

This response is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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NCA's prevent employees from working directly or indirectly for a competitor of their employer (or owning an interest in a competitor's business) during a specified period of time after leaving employment. To be legal or enforceable, the duration of the agreement and geographic scope (the areas where you can't work for a competitor) must be "reasonable". Generally 18 months to 2 years is considered "reasonable". The geographic scope will depend on the nature of the business and where the employer does business. It could be as little as the same county or as large as the entire state. It depends. You should consult with a Florida attorney in your area that specializes in employment-related matters to discuss the specifics of the business, length of the agreement, geographic area involved, among other things, to see if there is a way to get around the agreement.

Good luck.

The information provided herein is for general informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Persons seeking legal advice should consult directly with a licensed attorney or contact the Florida Bar for assistance in finding an attorney.

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