Non-compete agreements are slightly controversial. In some jurisdictions, it's hard to even enforce them. That's not the case in Florida, where non-competes are seen as a way to level the playing field in the business world. Because of non-competes, entrepreneurs who spend time and money training someone don't have to worry about competing with them for a period of time. However, these agreements have to meet certain standards in order to be enforceable under the law.
Timing matters with non-competes
A non-compete agreement is enforced by filing for an injunction. This is a fairly common kind of business litigation strategy. One complicating factor with the process is that in Florida, the laws governing these agreements have frequently changed. The specific rules around the non-compete will depend on when it was created and signed.
In Florida, laws governing non-competes were passed in 1990 and 1996. That means there are three different circumstances courts might see. Agreements from before 1990, from 1990 to 1996 and from 1996 to now. The way a case is handled will depend, in part, on when an employee was hired and when they signed a non-compete agreement.
Why injunctions are granted
In order for an injunction to be granted, certain standards must be met. For example, the business must be able to show that it will suffer irreparable harm without an injunction. The party requesting the injunction must also demonstrate that they have a legal right to request it. There are also other standards that must be met in order for a business to obtain an injunction.
Finally, an injunction must be precise. It needs to set out what exact activities are prohibited. In some cases, an injunction may not be granted. That may be due to things like the geographical area of the new competitor. If they're not close by, the court may view the level of competition as insignificant. But in general, Florida courts support non-compete agreements and will grant injunctions when warranted.