Understanding Employee-Employer Contracts
Many employees are asked to sign agreements when they begin employment with a company, and at times when they end their time with a company. Not everyone fully understands their options when it comes to these agreements. Must you sign every agreement your employer offers?
At Yormak Employment & Disability Law, we understand that these situations can be tricky. After all, you want the job and the benefits that are offered. But you also need to understand the cost to you.
Renegotiating A Noncompete Agreement
In some industries employees are expected to sign a noncompete agreement when they are hired. Are these legal? In most cases, yes, if the agreement has “reasonable” geographic boundaries and time limits. What is reasonable? Typically a time limit of two years and geographic area of where the employer does business. Under Florida law, these agreements are enforceable only if they protect a “legitimate business interest” of the employer. The court has the power to modify unreasonable or broad restrictions.
The questions the court will ask is whether the employee used the knowledge or information they acquired from their employer (a list of customers and confidential or proprietary information) to unfairly compete against their former employer. To enforce a noncompete, the court will assert first whether the employer has legitimate business interest to protect and second whether that business interest is legally defined (by Florida statute).
But just because noncompetes are enforced in Florida does not mean that you cannot ever get out of one. Using innovative legal strategy, we may be able to either renegotiate a noncompete or get you out of it altogether.
When Can You Sue For Breach Of Contract?
An employment contract is an agreement. Both you and your employer are agreeing to the terms and obligations set forth. Items that are typically included in an employment contract are your compensation, benefits and some variety of a noncompete. If either you or your employer do not follow through on these terms, you are in “breach of contract.” The other party can sue for monetary compensation. Two situations where claims for breach of an employment contract typically arise are:
- Employer suing employee: In this situation you quit your job but your employer feels you broke the terms of the contract. Common reasons an employer cites in these cases is that you had a duty not to compete or solicit or that you used confidential company information in a way that breached the agreement.
- Employee suing employer: Many employees will sue their employer if they were wrongfully terminated, for example because they were discriminated against.
If you are unsure of the terms of your contract, or what you can and cannot do under these terms, it’s wise to consult an established Florida employment law attorney for guidance. If you feel you were the victim of harassment or discrimination or if you have a disability that may have caused your termination, we can help you understand your rights.
Waiving Your Rights In A Severance Agreement
You may receive a severance agreement if you are fired, let go or laid off. The agreement typically gives the employee some added benefit if that employee agrees not to sue the employer.
Should you sign a severance agreement? That depends. Do you want to waive your right to ever bring a lawsuit against your former employer? What if you were unjustly fired? Are you being offered the maximum compensation or benefits that are available to you? Having an attorney review a severance agreement can ensure that you are protecting your rights and are getting what you deserve.
Come To Us For Proven Employment Law Guidance
We know that you likely have questions about your obligations and rights when it comes to employment contracts. We are here to help. Benjamin is a board-certified expert and offers a free consultation so that you have a better understanding of the situation. Call 239-399-8808 and talk to us. You can also send us a brief summary of your issue via this website contact email.