Under Florida law, in certain circumstances, an independent contractor agreement can contain an enforceable non-compete clause. Florida courts will uphold a non-compete agreement if the non-compete clause is reasonable in geographic scope and reasonable in its time-frame. Additionally, the non-compete agreement must be in place to protect a legitimate business interest. The courts will look at the time frame, place and protected legitimate interest when ruling on the non-compete clause’s enforceability.
Non-competition clauses are governed by Florida Statute §542.335. A non-compete clause can restrict an independent contractor from working for a competitor during the duration the worker is contracted with the company, and for a specific period of time after contract work ends. For the independent contractor agreement to be enforceable, Florida Statute §542.335 says a court shall presume 6 months or less in time is to be reasonable and 2 years or more unreasonable. When putting together your independent contractor agreement with a non-competition clauses, it is very important that your understand the law and the contract is written properly. Why? In cases where there might be a dispute regarding whether a contractor is an employee or an independent contractor, a non-compete clause could, in some cases, be used as evidence that an employee relationship exists. When drafting an independent contractor agreement, a company needs to balance the contract so that it makes clear that the independent contractor is indeed independent, while also drafting a robust enough non-compete clause that supports your company’s legitimate business interests. In order for a worker to be classified as an independent contractor, he or she must have control over how he or she does his/her job. Hence, the independent contractor should not be bound to location, hours, etc. The independent contractor will generally provide his or her own tools, computers, telephones, etc. Other considerations may also need to be made when determining whether a worker is a bona fide independent contractor. If the language of the agreement doesn’t establish that the contractor is independent, the relationship could be questioned and the business could face additional employment taxes, which could have major financial implications.
Do you need assistance with an independent contractor agreement with a non-compete clause? Legal Counsel, P.A. is a business law firm in Orlando, Florida that may be able to assist you. Our firm can review your current independent contractor agreements with non-compete clauses so that they can protect your business interests. Our business law firm can also create your independent contractor agreements so that they robustly protect your legitimate business interests. Have questions? We have answers. Contact Legal Counsel, P.A. today at 407-982-4321.
What are Legitimate Business Interests as it relates Non-Compete Agreement in Florida?
Legitimate business interests can include a range of things, including trade secrets, customer or client lists, confidential customer or client information, goodwill that the company has built after doing business in a given area for a period of time, and other factors. Florida law is broad in scope when defining the term, “legitimate business interest.” This is where having a sound independent contractor agreement with a non-compete agreement in place is essential. If, in your contract, you can establish the legitimacy for protecting your business interests, then the agreement may be more likely to be rendered enforceable. When these agreements are tested in court, the court will look at the whole picture, and you may need to defend why you placed the non-compete agreement in place. When writing your contract, it is wise to write it in light of the possibility that you may need to defend it in court. The business lawyer at Legal Counsel, P.A. can review your independent contractor agreements and draft your agreements so that they are more likely to be defensible if they are tried in court.
A sound independent contractor agreement can protect both parties because it helps both parties clearly understand the nature of their relationship. Clear contracts are the foundation of your business. Legal Counsel, P.A. is a business law firm in Orlando, Florida that may be able to assist you with a range of business and small business needs. Have questions? We have answers. Contact Legal Counsel, P.A. today at 407-982-4321.
Contact Legal Counsel, P.A. For Your Business Law Needs
Legal Counsel, P.A. is a business law firm in Orlando, Florida that works with small businesses and larger businesses to help them with contracts, business formation, litigation, and a range of other matters. Are you hiring independent contractors for your business? If so, consider the importance of your contracts and the importance of having a sound non-compete clause in your independent contractor agreement. Drafting these contracts properly is important because failure to clearly establish the contractor as such can have major financial consequences and implications for your business. Legal Counsel, P.A. can help. Have questions? We have answers. Contact Legal Counsel, P.A. today at 407-982-4321.