Payton & Associates, LLC
Commercial Litigation Attorneys
Miami, Florida

Florida non-compete agreements can lead to litigation

In matters of employment, the decisions that an individual makes at the beginning of their tenure with a Florida company can have longstanding effects, even after they choose to leave to pursue other career options. One executive who recently left Amazon to go to work for Google is currently facing just such a challenge and is being sued by his former employer. Non-compete agreements form the backbone of this and similar lawsuits, and are an issue that both employees and employers should pay close attention to.

The man worked for Amazon for a period of just 18 months. Amazon claims that only five months of that time was spent working on their 'cloud' programs. The cloud is the term increasingly used to define the online interaction between entities, and is about global access, sharing of ideas and a collaborative movement toward ever-increasing technology and exchange of ideas.

Within their suit, Amazon claims that the executive had no knowledge of cloud workings before coming to the company, but acquired 'top to bottom' familiarity with cloud issues in the five month period working in that department. However, the executive had 20 years of experience in the industry with Microsoft before coming to Amazon. This could make such a claim hard to prove.

The lawsuit was filed when the executive took a position with Google. Amazon claims that he will harm their business by taking the knowledge gained at Amazon to a competing company. Non-compete agreements are designed to prevent this type of loss. As this lawsuit demonstrates, employees should be very careful about the types of agreements they sign when they begin employment, in Florida or elsewhere. Their ability to make a career shift in the future could be impeded by the stipulations within an employment agreement.

Source: Midsize Insider, "Amazon Sues Former Cloud Exec Who Goes Google," Doug Bonderud, Nov. 2, 2012

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