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Things to look out for prior to signing a noncompete agreement

Upon accepting an offer for employment, individuals in Florida and elsewhere may be asked to place their signatures on a variety documents before staring their new jobs. Regardless of the nature of the job they apply for, one of these documents could be a noncompete agreement that could prevent them from leaving to work for a competitor for a set period of time. Since these documents can be complex and subject to interpretation, gaining a clear understanding of the terms within prior to signing may be advisable.

Noncompete agreements may disrupt a person's ability to seek out employment within a competitive field for a certain period of time. This period could range anywhere from several months to as many as three years. While the time frame may change depending on the nature of the position sought, a person may find it advisable to ensure the terms of this arrangement are reasonable prior to signing the agreement.

A person may also find it beneficial to gain a better understanding of what will happen if the company is sold, or if a layoff occurs. Losing one's job involuntarily can be difficult enough on its own, but being prevented from pursuing further employment could leave one in a substantial financial bind. One could also consider requesting a list of what companies are considered competitors, as this list could be significantly more broad if left to interpretation.

Although knowing what to look out for before signing a noncompete agreement is advisable, the average person may lack the necessary legal knowledge to handle the situation. For advice in covering every crucial aspect, a person in Florida could consider retaining the services of an experienced attorney. An attorney can help a client gain a better understanding of the terms of the contract and provide future assistance should any disputes arise in relation to the agreement.

Source: gainesville.com, "More on the tricky business of non-compete contracts", Eva Del Rio, May 20, 2018

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