Does a non-compete encompass the entire business entity or just the specific position when signed?

Ex-employer "A" had me sign a non-compete. I was working in the health care field in a corporate office for a nurse registry. "A" fired me two weeks ago, and I secured a position with "B" within a few days - in a completely separate department under a completely separate job description. "A" found out that I am working for "B" and called to speak with the owner and threatened her. When I was with "A", I was there for 11 months as a "staffing coordinator" (contact with clients, contractors, and selling services) - here in the new position I am working as an administrative assistant - basically filing and receptionist work.

I'm worrying. Does "A" have any legal ground ? ...Especially when taking into consideration that Nurse Registries really have no "trade secrets" ... they all abide by guidelines set forth through the Agency for Health Care Administration - basically all NR's are REQUIRED to operate exactly the same in a sense...

1 answer  |  asked Mar 16, 2011 07:30 AM [EST]  |  applies to Florida

Unlock Non-Compete Agreements: Keys to Escape

Answers (1)

Phyllis Towzey
Whether Employer "A" can preclude you from working in this position for Employer "B" depends upon the wording of the non-compete agreement you signed. The question whether trade secrets are involved is not determinative.

Under Florida law an employer can enforce an agreement that stops you from working in any capacity for a direct competitor within the employer's market area, so long as they have a legitimate business interest to protect.

You should consult an employment law attorney to review your non-compete agreement reviewed, and negotiate on your behalf with Employer "A." Right now, you are at risk that Employer "A" will obtain a temporary injunction stopping you from working for Employer "B" in any capacity. The problem is that even if you would ultimately be able to prove in court that the non-compete is overly broad, by the time your case went to trial it's unlikely Employer "B" would still have been in a position to hold your job open for you.

posted by Phyllis Towzey  |  Mar 17, 2011 07:21 AM [EST]

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