Florida courts consistently enforce restrictive covenants, including non-competes
and non-solicitation agreements, if they are
reasonable in time, area and line of business. Additionally, in order to be enforceable, the restrictive covenant must
be supported by a legitimate business interest. Legitimate business interests
include: trade secrets, confidential information, substantial relationships
with specific prospective or existing customers, patients or clients,
customer, patient or client goodwill, extraordinary or specialized training,
and referral sources.
In determining whether a non-compete is enforceable, Florida courts
must: analyze the case in favor of protecting the employer’s legitimate
business interests, consider all relevant defenses; and determine if the
non-compete will harm the public interest. Florida courts are
not permitted to consider any potential hardship specific to the former employee
caused by the noncompete’s enforcement.
Typically, the party seeking to enforce the restrictive covenant bears
the burden of proof to show a legitimate business interest and that the
restrictive covenant is reasonably necessary to protect that interest.
If the court decides to reject the restrictive covenant because it violates
public policy, the court
must: state the public policy and find that the public policy needs substantially
outweigh the employer’s legitimate business interests.
If an employee breaches a restrictive covenant, a Florida court may award
temporary and permanent injunctions, attorneys’ fees, and, in some
cases, lost profits and liquidated damages (if the agreement includes
a liquidated damages provision).
In order to seek lost profits, an employer must prove with reasonable certainty
that the employer actually lost profits as a result of the former’s
Does your business have a concern involving a restrictive covenant? If
so, we invite you to contact our award-winning Florida business litigation
Rosenthal Law Group.
Call us today to start exploring your legal options.