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Non compete for a teacher in Florida?

Gainesville, FL |

I'm a teacher at an elementary charter school in Florida. My administration added a non compete clause in our contract for the coming year, stating we cannot "directly or indirectly perform any duties that are the same or similar to those duties that he or she performed for the School" for the period "of the Academic Year" in "a public school that lies within the geographic boundaries of the county of -----." Is this enforceable in Florida?

Attorney Answers 2


I am a NY attorney and cannot advise you as to your state's laws, but I can provide certain general informaton that you may find helpful. My (admittedly imperfect) understanding is that your state has a statute dealing with non-compete agreements (Florida Statute 542.335).

There is no substitute for consulting with a local attorney. I will, however, share my impressions, for whatever it may be worth. I find the general terms of the non-compete agreement (as outlined in your posting) to be eminently reasonable. The school district has an obvious interest in not losing teachers during the academic year and it is thoroughly reasonable for the school district to expect that teachers will make commitments until the end of the academic year. The non-compete agreement to which you are bound requires no more than that.

It doesn't stop you from switching jobs between the end of one academic year and the start of the next. It doesn't stop you from teaching at a private school. It doesn't stop you from looking for work outside the county. It is, in a word, reasonable.

And the fact that you even ask the question is ample demonstration of the employer's need for a non-compete agreement. The period of the non-compete agreement is a maximum of eight or nine months. As I said earlier, it sounds absolutely reasonable to me.

Good luck to you.

Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.

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Thank you, Mr. Haber. I'm sure my administration *does* need the non-compete for their teachers; however, in the same contract, they require a 60 day notice if a teacher resigns, PLUS a payment for "liquidated damages" in the amount of $5500. Do you feel that is also reasonable?

Michael S. Haber

Michael S. Haber


You really should consult with a local attorney. In my view (again, taking into account that I am NOT a Florida attorney and can't advise you on Florida law), those provisions are completely reasonable. Schools (and, by extension, school systems and school districts) exist for the benefit of the students, and there must therefore be some small modicum of regard for them. I'm assuming you are a good teacher who cares about your job and your students; if that is the case, you will realize the importance of those provisions.


Florida recognizes certain "non-competes" or "contracts in restraint of trade" for professions, trades or businesses, provided that the restriction(s) comply(ies) with the requirments of Florida law--generally, as long as a restrictive covenant is "reasonable" in time, area, and the line of business. As the NY lawyer indicated in his answer, FL has a statute (Chapter 542) that outlines parameters and considerations in determining whether a restrictive covenant will be considered presumptively valid or invalid (i.e. enforceable or unenforceable). But to determine if the non compete in your proposed contract would be enforceable in your particular situation, you should consult a lawyer experienced in FL employment law to review the entire proposed contract with you, as there may be other relevant factors or information specific to your employment that need to be considered.

The information provided in this answer is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice nor create a client-lawyer relationship.You should therefore consult with a lawyer experienced in handling these types of legal issues in your jurisdiction or geographic area.

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