The recent lawsuit filed against Mark Hurd, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard who left to take a top job at Oracle, has placed Non-Compete Agreements front-and-center in the news. In tough economic times like these, this type of litigation rises because people need to work. With unemployment so high and with dim prospects of finding new employment anytime soon, former employees are more interested in earning money than worrying about the terms of an Agreement they may have signed long ago.
Most Non-Compete Agreements provide that an employee may not work for a competitor of the employer for a certain period of time and within a certain geographic area after the termination of employment. In the typical Non-Compete enforcement case, the employer sues the employee to prevent him/her from accepting a job that falls within the scope of the Agreement. Normally, the employer asks the court to issue an injunction preventing the employee from violating the terms of the Agreement, rather than seeking damages.
Often times, problems arise in the enforcement of these Agreements because of the way the Non-Compete language is written. For example, we are defending a Florida Non-Compete enforcement action where the former employer is over-reaching in its attempt to prevent our client from working in his trade. The language in the Non-Compete was drafted so broadly that our client is unable to work in his field of practice in any capacity, which we believe is unreasonable and overly restrictive.
Don’t repeat our client’s situation. If you’re a new hire, have an attorney look at your Non-Compete Agreement before you sign. Your attorney can assist in negotiating better terms and clean-up the language so that it will benefit you as well as your new employer.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, you can contact me at (954) 458-8655 and I will be happy to answer your questions. I offer a free initial consultation.