Many employees in a variety of professions are asked to sign covenants not to compete and confidentiality agreements either at the beginning of their employment or at some subsequent time during their employment. The purpose of these agreements are two-fold: to protect the employer from use by the employee of confidential information the employee learned while working for the employer and to prevent the employee from unfairly competing with the employer after the employee leaves employment. When an employee ceases employment, it is a good idea to have an attorney review the agreement to obtain legal advice on the enforceability of such a covenant. Employees who are notified that their previous employer is going to attempt to enforce such a covenant should also seek prompt representation to avoid legal action and possible monetary sanctions or the loss of employment with the new employer. Covenants not to compete are governed by Florida law and there are certain requirements for them to be legally enforceable including reasonable geographical and time limits. These agreements are generally enforceable however an overreaching employer may try to obtain more of an advantage than he is entitled to under the law.
Often times when an employee is laid off or terminated an employer will present him with a severance agreement to sign. These agreements generally provide for payment of a specified sum in exchange for a release by the employee of any claims the employee may have arising out of her employment or termination. The claims released may include discrimination claims or other legal claims the employee may have. Before signing such an agreement an Employee should have the agreement reviewed by an attorney. In many cases the agreement will have a clause in it that states that the employee was given the opportunity to have the agreement reviewed by counsel. The employee would be well advised to have an attorney review any severance agreement given to him by the employer to provide advice regarding the employeeâ€™s rights and obligations under such an agreement and the general fairness of the severance offered.