Is a non compete enforceable if it is sent via email, but never signed or agreed to via email?

I work as a 1099 contractor with a staffing agency and signed a work agreement a couple years ago that renews yearly that had a non-compete that I would not go work directly or indirectly with the client for a period of 6 months after the last contracted date. For my upcoming assignment, the staffing agency sent me an email that had an amendment to the non-compete stipulating that I would pay them large dollar amount if I took a position directly or indirectly with the client within 6 months of the last contracted date. If I start working on the assignment without replying to the email saying I accept the change, will the fee be enforceable?

1 answer  |  asked Aug 2, 2017 1:08 PM [EST]  |  applies to Florida

Answers (1)

Archibald Thomas
Florida Statute 542.335 regarding non-compete agreements provides, in part as follows:
 Valid restraints of trade or commerce.—
(1) Notwithstanding s. 542.18 and subsection (2), enforcement of contracts that restrict or prohibit competition during or after the term of restrictive covenants, so long as such contracts are reasonable in time, area, and line of business, is not prohibited. In any action concerning enforcement of a restrictive covenant:
(a) A court shall not enforce a restrictive covenant unless it is set forth in a writing signed by the person against whom enforcement is sought.

Thus, under section (1)(a) of the statute, the agreement must be in writing and signed by the person against whom enforcement is sought.

Based on your description of the circumstances, it appears that there is no signed written agreement allowing enforcement of the liquidated damages provision you described.

Archibald J. Thomas, III
Board Certified Labor & Employment Lawyer
Law Offices of Archibald J. Thomas, III, P.A.
4651 Salisbury Road, Suite 255
Jacksonville, Fl 32256

posted by Archibald Thomas  |  Aug 2, 2017 1:33 PM [EST]

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