You may be aware of the recent buzz around non-compete agreements. Several states have passed laws limiting their enforceability or even making them illegal. But in Florida, your future employer can still ask you to sign one during the hiring process.
While non-competes can limit your ability to find other jobs, they must be reasonable according to state law. When your employer asks you to sign one, you will want to review it carefully. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you sign a non-compete agreement:
How much does it limit me?
You may think a non-compete will put you out of work for an extended period. But some may just limit your ability to take clients to a new company. Or it may just require you to keep information about the company private.
How long will I stay with this employer?
If you plan on only gaining some experience and then moving on, a non-compete may limit your ability to grow. But if you don’t expect to leave the company, there isn’t much reason for you to avoid limiting your employability.
How long does the agreement last?
Non-compete agreements cannot last forever. Your employer must put in a time limit. If you feel like you can stay out of the workforce for the duration of the agreement and remain employable, you may consider the non-compete reasonable.
How far does the agreement reach?
If your employer only does business in Florida, they may not be able to restrict you from getting a job in Georgia or Alabama. But if they have dealings throughout the country, you may only be able to get a job in states where non-competes are illegal.
How much is the employer willing to amend it?
Non-compete agreements are amendable contracts. If you bring specific reasons why parts of it should change, the employer may update it. But if the hiring manager isn’t willing to budge, you may not want to take the job.
A non-compete agreement can restrict your ability to find a job if you leave your employer. Before you sign one, you should examine its restrictions and make sure that it won’t damage your employability. You may even want to ask an attorney to review it for you.
If you can deal with the limits of a non-compete agreement, then there is no reason to refuse the job. But if you can’t, you may want to find a different employer.