FLORIDA NON-COMPETE AND RELATED TORT LAW: WHEN DO AN EMPLOYEE’S ACTIONS BEFORE ENDING EMPLOYMENT CONSTITUTE TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE AS OPPOSED TO LAWFUL PREPARATION TO COMPETE?

It is well settled in Florida law that “an employee does not violate his duty of loyalty when he merely organizes a corporation during his employment to carry on a rival business after the expiration of his employment.” Fish v. Adams, 401 So.2d 843 (Fla. 5th DCA 1981). Absent a non-compete agreement, a former employee is free to compete against the former employer.  However, an employee who intends to leave his employment to work for a competing company or to start a competing company must avoid direct and unjustified interference with his/her employer’s business relationships. Peter Mavrick is a non-compete, employment, and business litigation lawyer who has extensive experience with defending against tortious interference lawsuits involving claims of unlawful and unfair competition. In Harllee v. Prof’l Serv. Indus., Inc., 619 So. 2d 298, 300 (Fla. 3d DCA 1992), Professional Services Industries, Inc. (“PSI”) sued its former employee,…

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