Non-compete agreements are an important tool that can be used to protect your business against competition from an employee (or former employee). According to Investopedia, a non-compete agreement is “a contract wherein an employee promises not to enter into competition of any kind with an employer after the employment period is over. These agreements also prohibit the employee from revealing proprietary information or secrets to any other parties during or after employment.”
Does your construction business enforce non-compete agreements? Or are you permitting your employees to adopt your processes and procedures for their own personal gain? In this article, a Fort Lauderdale construction attorney will discuss how you can stop this from happening through the enforcement of non-compete agreements that protect your business now and in the future.
When Does This Agreement Take Place?
Typically, you should have your employee sign a non-compete agreement at the same time your employer-employee relationship begins. It can be included in your employee handbook or separately as part of a package of onboarding documents. The clause itself should clearly state that any employee who works for a competitor or attempts to become a competitor will be terminated. This clause should be extensive and bar any form of competition, even those that don’t involve the disclosure of trade secrets. Other distinguishing characteristics include the length of time by which an employee is bound to the non-compete agreement, the geographic location, and the markets considered “competitors.” If you want to lock down your position in the construction industry, these agreements are essential and should be processed prior to hiring a new worker.
Always Assume That Your Non-Compete Is Enforceable
As long as you verify that your non-compete is enforceable with a Fort Lauderdale construction attorney before issuing it to an employee you’re onboarding, you should be prepared to utilize it as needed against employees and former employees that attempt to compete with your business. Your employees may feel like they aren’t bound by a non-compete agreement due to Florida’s status as a right to work state, but this simply isn’t the case. Florida enforces non-compete agreements as long as they are compliant with the restrictive covenant statute. It’s important to keep in mind that courts can alter the terms of a non-compete agreement if its scope is too broad. What this means is that your non-compete is entirely enforceable — with conditions. And the exact details of your non-compete may change if the judge presiding determines this to be the correct action. Fortunately, a Fort Lauderdale construction attorney can help you draft and enforce a realistic non-compete agreement that protects your business against competition.