A contract called a non-competition agreement is valid in Florida provided it follows all of the details required by Florida law. You may have heard the cliché, The Devil Is In the Details. When one is referring to a contract, the statement may be a cliché, but it is also true. A court will literally apply the language in a non-competition agreement to the facts. Florida courts typically narrowly construe the cases to interpret and enforce or not enforce in any given situation.
The following is an example of a court literally following the language of a non-competition agreement. This case involved a veterinarian clinic. The non-competition agreement of an employee leaving the employ of the clinic required the employee to not own, manage, operate, control, be employed by, assist, participate in, or have any material interest in any business or profession engaged in a veterinary practice within a thirty-mile radius of the former employer’s business address for one year after termination of employment. After the employee left the clinic, the employee opened a veterinarian practice outside the thirty-mile radius called for in the non-competition agreement. The former employee’s vet practice, although outside of the thirty mile radius, served clients residing or having businesses within the thirty-mile radius. The non-competition agreement did not prohibit employees from providing veterinary services to clients who resided in or had businesses within the thirty-mile radius of where the former employer’s veterinarian clinic is located. The court held in favor of the former employee.
If an employer wants its non-competition agreement to be enforceable, the non-competition agreement will require attention to detail in any possible contingency that may arise. The employer must take great pains to use language in his or her non-competition agreement to spell out the rights the former employer has and the duties of the former employee.
This article is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice. Call us at 813-852-8500 to schedule a complimentary consultation with a business law attorney to get more information about non-competition agreements.