Employment was recently terminated. Explanation for termination was that the company was moving in a different direction. Position was selling construction products in the residential market. Company has stated that they are moving away from residential and focusing on the commercial construction market and my position was no longer required. Non-compete was signed when hired.
There are many variables involved with these type of agreements.
FL courts will enforce non-competes within reasonable limits regards to geography and duration like most states. Other states such as CA and NY for the most part, will not enforce these between employers and employees.
I would advise having your agreement reviewed along with all the facts and circumstances by a lawyer that can advice on a best course of action. In most cases it is not worth it for an employer to sue because any award they will be granted by a court will usually not be more than the cost and effort to sue in the first place. But of course every case is different. I have an employer client that routinely files actions regards to his non-competes because in his case he has many employees that may seek to take advantage of him and he wants everyone to know that he means buisiness. That is, the cost is well spent in his case but that is an exception.
I will link you to a very brief overview of non-competes below and most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.
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I do lots of work in this area of law. My two cents:
(1) Yes, the agreement could still be enforced even though the company terminated you. That said, this gives you a strong equitable argument (i.e. it's unfair to enforce the non-compete against you when you were fired without cause).
(2) The case will hinge on what is called a legitimate business interest. The relevant statute is Florida Statute 542.335. Basically, legitimate business interests include things like confidential information, customer relationships, etc.
(3) If you go to work for a company that is focused on the residential market, and your old company is moving out of that space and into commercial construction, then your new job may be outside of the scope of the non-compete.
If you want to read up on Florida non-compete law, go here: http://floridanoncompetelawyers.com/florida-non-compete-blog/
Feel free to give me a call if you need help.
My response to this question is a response to a hypothetical situation based on limited facts. I am not your attorney; you are not my client and we do not have an attorney-client relationship. If you need a lawyer, you should contact one in your area. If you would like to talk with me about your case, you can call my office.
4 lawyers agree
Employment / Labor Attorney
While labels like"no compete agreement"are great shorthand, the agreements vary. Each must be examined by a lawyer competent in the area. Even more important is a well organized client interview where facts may be uncovered which have a dramatic on the enforceability of the agreement