Over the course of several years, Florida business owners often build strong relationships with their employees, vendors and other contacts. No matter how strong these relationships may be, however, they can quickly deteriorate when disputes arise and people part ways.
In these situations, an important consideration at stake is whether there exists any agreement imposing a restraint of trade. As discussed recently in this blog, restrictive covenants can be contained in certain agreements so long as they are supported by a legitimate business interest.
Under Florida law, certain restrictive covenants of different periods of time are presumed to be reasonable. For instance, an employer’s restrictive covenant of six months or less in duration is presumed to be reasonable, while a restraint of trade of two years or more is presumed to be unreasonable. These presumptions can be overcome by other evidence in certain cases, but they can go a long way toward establishing a violation of non-competition agreements.
A violation of these agreements can be highly damaging to the business. Trade secret information, confidential information or other information may be at stake, which can cost the business hundreds of thousands of dollars if placed in the wrong hands. Accordingly, it is vital that businesses understand when and how they can enforce their agreements and what damages may be available.
Our firm has helped numerous clients enforce restrictive covenants and non-competition agreements. We examine the language of the agreement at issue to determine whether it may be enforced under Florida law. We then work closely with our clients to understand the facts at issue and whether a former employee, distributor or other party is in violation of these agreements. For more information on our firm’s services, please visit our business torts webpage.