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Understanding non-competition agreements

Companies in Florida and throughout the United States may ask that workers sign a non-competition agreement. While they may be valid if properly constructed, courts often see them as an impediment to workers after they leave their current employers. Generally speaking, an employee must receive something of value in exchange for agreeing to such a clause. This may include a job candidate being offered a position or a current employee receiving a promotion.

Furthermore, such an agreement must protect a legitimate business interest such as guarding trade secrets or goodwill built in the community. Business owners should also make sure that the agreement is reasonable in both its length and scope. Generally, it cannot last for longer than information is valuable to an employer. It should also not restrict a worker from finding a job in a part of the country or world where a company doesn't have a legitimate business interest.

For example, it likely wouldn't be enforced if an employee couldn't find future work in a state where the company doesn't do business. In some cases, employers must show that they took reasonable steps to guard information protected by the document. If it is considered to be excessive in nature, it may be struck down. It could also be modified to reflect the protection an employer may need if an employee leaves the company.

Prior to creating a non-competition agreement, it may be a good idea to have it reviewed by a business law attorney. Doing so may minimize the chance that it would be struck down by a judge. It might also make it less likely that an employee would refuse to sign it or otherwise resent an employer for limiting his or her right to find employment.

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