It is critical to understand a noncompete agreement entirely when using one, especially in the medical field. These agreements, when legally binding, can have a drastic impact on someone's future.
For instance, if a person signs a noncompete agreement saying they will not work in the county after leaving a company or a medical practice, they must then abide by that when the working relationship ends. People are often quick to sign these agreements when they get a new job, but they then have second thoughts when that job ends. It feels too restrictive. They want to violate the agreement.
There are two key rules that help determine whether the agreement is valid. They are as follows:
- The agreement has to be reasonable. This is in regard to the time it lasts, the scope of the agreement and the geography that it covers. Saying that someone cannot practice in a specific county for the next year is far different from saying that he or she can never practice in the entire state of Florida ever again. Unreasonable agreements may not hold up.
- The agreement has to legitimately protect a valid business interest. It cannot just restrict someone's future for the sake of trying to give them an incentive not to quit. It has to actually keep the company safe -- for instance, by making sure that the person cannot take insider information to steal clients in the same area.
Do you have any questions about how a noncompete agreement works or what to do when there is a dispute? Make sure you understand the legal process and the ins and outs of a potentially complicated case.