Enforceability of Non Compete contract

I have worked in the retail automotive industry for twenty five years, two years ago and out of desperation due to the economy, I took a job in "middle management" at a local dealership. The duties and processes performed are not any different than any other in the industry and I have not been privileged to access any sensitive information about the company besides the basic tools to follow up on customers... The company required that I signed a NC contract that will not allow me to work anywhere in any capacity in the industry for 6 mos or 75 miles in distance. In the two years that I have been employed I have signed two other revised NC contracts with changes made and our compensation plans were being adjusted. Each time thay have given us a limited time to read the agreement and always in the presence of a supervisor to ensure we do not make copies of such contract... We are always told we are not allowed to a copy but one is always available to view if you ask ( always been afraid since they will retaliate against us thinking we will challenge it if we ask to read it) for what I can gather from the many pages i was able to read ther are significant monetary penalties if I resigned and take any position at any other dealer and other charges even for having contact with any employees or for having a cell with a camera.....
My understanding about the law if that if I don't have any trade secrets (same process and techniques used at any dealer I have ever worked) I have not received any extraordinary specialized training and don't have any extraordinary relationship with customer that i can directly solicit from them.
The NC also included a clause that will prevent us from suing instead to pursue any claims through arbitration.
Is there anyway to fight this agreement, obviously the employer is sure to assume (and correct in my case) that I will not have the time or monetary recourses to fight this..

1 answer  |  asked Oct 3, 2011 5:42 PM [EST]  |  applies to Florida

Answers (1)

Arthur Schofield
Non-compete agreements or restrictive covenants are enforceable in Florida and the terms you set forth will likley be considered reasonable. This is not to say you cannot challenge the agreement. I would need to review your particular agreement to give you specific advice. Your challenge to this would be in the arbitration settting since the agreement contains such a clause. It is possible that the agreement may contain a prevailing party attorney fee agreement which would allow you to recover your attorney's fees from your former employer (should you leave). There are some other practical ways to try to negotiate your way out of these agreements. If you want to discuss further, contact my office.

posted by Arthur Schofield  |  Oct 4, 2011 05:38 AM [EST]

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