Florida business owners know the importance of protecting their company’s intellectual property and competitive standing. Of course, this knowledge often comes from years of experience, and for individuals just starting their entrepreneurial ventures, it can be easy to overlook important safeguards. If you have recently started a business and are taking on employees, now is the time to protect your company’s interests from negative repercussions relating to those employees.
Certainly, employees are valuable parts of any business. However, if a worker decides to leave your company and work for a competitor, you may see how that could pose trouble for your company. After all, what is stopping a former employee of yours from divulging your company secrets or convincing your clients to work with a different company instead? Hopefully, the answer to that question is well-drafted employment-related contracts.
Which contracts can help?
Fortunately, various contracts and employment agreements could help safeguard your company from disgruntled or unscrupulous employees who may want to cut and run with your confidential information. A few contracts to consider include:
- A noncompete agreement that could limit employees from working with a direct competitor, as long as the terms comply with state law and are not too broad in scope
- A confidentiality agreement that bars employees from disclosing trade secrets, details about intellectual property or other information deemed confidential
- A no-solicitation agreement that works to prevent employees from trying to persuade their co-workers, your clients or your customers from leaving your company to work with another company
Once signed under the proper conditions, employees are legally bound to adhere to the terms of these contracts as long as the contract is valid. To ensure their legal validity, gaining information from local legal resources relating to proper contract execution is a wise step to take.
What if a breach occurs?
Though these agreements are legally binding, they are essentially only pieces of paper that require an employee to keep to his or her word. In the event that an employee or former employee violates the terms of the agreement, you may have reason to take legal action against that person. Pursuing litigation could allow you and your company to work toward recouping any losses and other damages your business suffered as a result of the contract breach.