Businesses throughout Florida may have justifiable concerns about the risk that their former employees will unfairly compete against them, divulge sensitive material or lure away key personnel. Restrictive covenants can be effective in reducing the risk, but Florida law places limitations on their scope and duration. At H. Clay Parker, Esq. in Orlando, we have the knowledge and skill needed to prepare and enforce restrictive covenants that effectively protect businesses’ economic interests. We are also adept at helping former employees seek relief from excessive restrictions that are impeding their legitimate career ventures.
A restrictive covenant is a provision in a contract between an employer and employee that restricts the ability of the employee to use skills or information acquired from the employer to compete against it after leaving the company. To be enforceable under Florida law, a restrictive covenant must be reasonably necessary to protect the company’s legitimate business interests. Many restrictive covenants are too broad in terms of their duration, geographic reach or proscribed activities. If you need a restrictive covenant, we will work diligently with you to design one that balances your need for protection with the need to comply with Florida law.
Varied kinds of restrictive covenants are created to address specific circumstances. These are the principal types:
Our attorneys have a thorough understanding of these legal requirements and are experienced in drafting agreements that the courts will accept as valid.
If an employee refuses or neglects to abide by a restrictive covenant, the employer may need to take legal action to enforce it. We are business litigators experienced at pursuing all available options. As a company’s counsel, we typically begin with a cease-and-desist letter to the ex-employee and any other individuals or companies who may be involved. If they refuse to stop, we will file an enforcement action in court, seeking restraining orders, injunctions and/or compensatory damages.
We also represent former employees in resisting enforcement of covenants that exceed legal limits. Courts generally strike down agreements that restrict competition and solicitation for more than two years. Courts also disfavor covenants that impose prohibitions of longer than six months on activities that are not reasonably tailored to the former employer’s business and/or location and that don’t impact the employer’s good will or competitive position. Likewise, courts may void provisions that seek to protect confidential information for more than five years unless a specific need is demonstrated.
Clay Parker, Esq. advises Central Florida clients on the formation, review and enforcement of restrictive covenants of all kinds. Please call 407-216-2504 or contact us online to schedule an appointment at our Orlando office. In business litigation matters, we offer a $50 initial consultation.