If you’re a business owner, wondering whether you should Require your employees to sign a non-compete, South Florida business attorney Paul Burkhart can help.
Paul says non-completes or other restrictive covenants are a strong, legitimate way to protect your business interests, but if you misstep with your restrictive covenant, it may not be worth the paper it’s written on.
Compared to most states, Florida has strong employer-favored statutes on non-competes, but you can’t take a one size fits all approach. You need to protect your business.
Here are some general rules:
- The agreement must be in writing and signed by the employee and management.
- The non compete restriction must be reasonable – 6 months to 2 years is generally considered fair, depending on the position. Over 2 year, probably won’t fly legally.
- It must be geographically reasonable. A local, multi-county or even state restriction on working for a competitor will likely hold up. A national restriction, not so much.
- The non compete must be “business specific”. If your former employee developed software for the healthcare industry, he or she can not be disqualified from all software development jobs.
Finally what is the definition of a legitimate business interest?
If you asked everyone in the company to sign a non-compete, it’s likely too many people have access to your proprietary info, or you are over-reaching.
As we said, there is no one-size-fits-all, non-compete solution, so work with an experienced South Florida business lawyer call Paul Burkhart at 561 880 0155 or visit paulburkhart.net.