When you hire a worker, especially someone in a creative, sensitive or executive position, you may require that they execute non-compete and non-disclosure agreements in order to protect your business’s trade secrets and help it remain competitive.
Unfortunately, some people will get the idea to steal your company’s concepts or trade secrets when they work for you. If you find yourself in a situation where a former employee has opened their own business and now directly competes with you, you may need to go to court to enforce the non-compete agreement they signed when you hired or promoted them.
Florida recognizes non-compete agreements in many cases
Not all states allow employers to restrict the right of their workers to compete after they leave the company. California, for example, only enforces non-compete agreements when an employee is still working for a business and not after they leave the company.
Florida, on the other hand, will theoretically uphold non-compete agreements in certain circumstances. The employee signing it should have received something valuable in consideration for agreeing to those terms, such as an offer of employment or a promotion. The non-compete agreement itself should have specific limitations regarding geography or the time frame in which it remains in effect. Documents that are too broad or that last for too long may not stand up in court.
Protecting your business might require litigation
If a former employee has gone so far as to steal your company’s secrets and attempt to start their own business, a strongly-worded letter likely won’t be enough to deter them from continuing down this path of intellectual property violations and contract breaches.
You may have to ask the Florida courts to review and uphold your contract to protect your business from an unscrupulous former employee.