In today’s unsettled economic and regulatory landscape, health care organizations should zealously protect their workforce and proprietary information. To that end, a well-crafted non-compete agreement can serve as one of an entity’s most important assets. If drafted and applied appropriately, a non-compete provision can restrict departing employees from pirating and using or disclosing a company’s proprietary materials and information, such as marketing techniques, specialized training methods, business plans, referral sources, and corporate goodwill. In order to effectively use such a powerful tool, it is critical that health care providers understand the scope and limitations of restrictive covenants under the current law.
Simply requiring all employees to sign boiler-plate agreements is often insufficient. Under Florida law, non-compete provisions are presumptively enforceable, but such provisions do have limits. A non-compete agreement’s restrictions must be reasonable in its terms of scope, geographic boundaries, and time. The law allows a court in many circumstances to “blue-pencil” the agreement and adjust its terms to make it more reasonable and fair if the terms of the agreement are too broad.