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Nearly 40 percent workers have signed a non-compete agreement

Nearly 40 percent of Americans have entered into a noncompete agreement. Many of the people who signed their noncompetes, however, never were affected by them because they were not in a position where they needed to compete against their employer. Some individuals, on the other hand, may have faced big financial setbacks because they were unable to work in their chosen industry after leaving their former employer.

According to a new study by the United States Department of Treasury, many of the people who sign a noncompete agreement do not know the full extent of what it means. Basically, if an employee signs a noncompete, they are saying that they will not work for a rival of their previous employer if they choose to quit.

To make matters worse for employees, it seems -- according to one employment law attorney -- that noncompete agreements have been on the rise during the last 25 years. This is because companies have decided by and large that they need to protect the information they have shared with their employees. They do this by locking down their employees and preventing them from working for rival companies. Studies show that approximately 20 percent of Americans are currently bound by a noncompete contract.

Currently, federal law does not offer laws regarding noncompete contracts and every state has its own kind of noncompete laws. Some states, like California, for example, do not enforce noncompete clauses. That said, states like Florida are very strict with the enforcement of noncompete agreements and favor the employer over the employee.

Florida residents who have entered into a noncompete agreement may wish to discuss the matter with an employment law lawyer before they choose to change employment. A lawyer can help employees review their current legal obligations under the noncompete agreement and whether the agreement will hold up in court.

Source: PBS, "What you should know about non-compete agreements," Duarte Geraldino, July 14, 2016

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