Starting a new job usually creates a mixture of excitement, apprehension, and overwhelm. However, one thing most of us never think of are the difficulties of severing an employee-employer relationship. Sometimes employees simply leave these relationships for better opportunities.
Unfortunately, often these relationships are terminated because of the wrong-doings of one of the parties or unfair treatment. Here’s more information on employment agreements and restrictions so that if you ever find yourself in this situation, you’ll understand your employee rights and the law.
Employee-Employer Relationships in Florida
The employment relationship between an employee and their employer in the state of Florida falls under the employment-at-will doctrine. Essentially, this doctrine means that the employer hires the employee for an indefinite amount of time and that they can terminate you at any moment. You can also choose to sever the relationship. Employers will include this type of employment agreement in the contract you sign before you start working for them.
There are exceptions to the at-rule provision, even if it’s included in your contract. Some examples are public policy exceptions, the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, and the Implied Contract Exception.
If you have any question as to whether your employee contract includes the employment-at-will doctrine, contact a Florida attorney so that they can review the paperwork and explain your rights. It’s always best to speak to an attorney about any legal matters that aren’t clear to protect your rights.
Agreements Between the Employer and Employee
Eliminating the employment-at-will doctrine is possible. You can enter into an arrangement that agrees to a non-application of it. However, not all agreements completely eliminate the at-will doctrine. Examples of terms and conditions typically seen in employment agreements are the obligations and responsibilities of the employee, terms, duration, or explicit amounts of pay.
Often, these agreements describe the terms of employment and that employers can let you go at any time for “just cause” or “good cause.” They also usually explain how much notice the employer must provide for termination or the amount of severance pay allowed for ending a work contract.
Sometimes these agreements include nondisclosure or confidentiality provisions. These provisions protect the employer’s interests and explain that the employee can’t disclose specific confidential or sensitive information.
They can also include other provisions such as non-compete and non-solicitation. Non-compete provisions commonly state that if the employer terminates your contract for any reason, you can’t compete with the employer afterward. If a non-solicitation stipulation exists in the contract; it expressly says that the employee can’t contact any of the employer’s clients or customers after their contract is terminated.
Employment agreements aren’t standard in every job. Usually, they are in markets where there is intense competition for employers to find talent. Stockbrokers, computer analysts, and top executives are examples of careers that use employment agreements.
These agreements limit your ability to work with your employer’s competitors like having a second job with one. They may also describe the terms of non-solicitation. If you refuse to sign disclosures like this, you may lose your job, or the employer may not hire you.
The provisions protect the proprietary and confidential business information of prospective employers. Even so, if your employer cannot prove a legitimate interest that it wants to protect, a court may not enforce the agreement. Interests are things such as extensive customer relationships, trade secrets, and business secrets.
The restrictions in these agreements also must be logical and enforceable. Florida law dictates that any non-compete provision over two years is considered unreasonable. Also, the geographical area that the contract specifies must be reasonable. For example, if the employer only does business in the state of Florida then restricting you on an international level would not be enforceable.
Termination or separation agreements typically describe the release of liability and the amount of severance pay an employee receives upon termination of an employee-employer relationship. It will probably discuss the non-disclosure and confidentiality obligations as well. It’s usually best if both parties sign these agreements as it protects you both.
Navigating employment agreements and restrictions is complicated. A Florida attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations as an employee.