Upon hiring new employees, companies in Florida and elsewhere might seek to protect their business interests by requiring them to sign a noncompete agreement. Companies may use these agreements to prevent employees from obtaining employment with a competitor for a set period after resigning from their position. However, should a business close down, there could be some level of debate as to whether the agreement is enforceable, and noncompete disputes that take place under similar circumstances can be complex.
A general manager and a chef have both filed a lawsuit against the owner of a restaurant in relation to the sudden closure of the business. According to the lawsuit, the owner recently closed the establishment for unknown reasons, and allegedly failed to provide any form of severance to the men. In addition, both claim they are unable to obtain employment at another restaurant due to noncompete agreements they signed upon being hired on at the restaurant.
The two reportedly argue that their agreements shouldn't be enforceable due to the sudden closing of the restaurant. However, the owner claims he plans to reopen the establishment, and says that he still has employees on payroll. He also asserts that the chef quit his job and attempted to take several members of staff with him, and that the general manager was fired after he failed to perform the duties of his job in a satisfactory manner.
Noncompete disputes can be highly contested matters, and with numerous variables that could influence the outcome of the situation, a similar process can be stressful and intimidating. Those who face such disputes could find it beneficial to consult with an attorney for advice on the options available to them. An attorney in Florida can evaluate the circumstances a client is facing, along with the employment contract, and provide guidance on the best course of action with which to proceed.
Source: loyolaphoenix.com, "Loyola alum sued ahead of opening restaurant near Loyola", Mary Norkol, March 14, 2018