Although not a requirement before filing suit, former employers oftentimes send cease-and-desist letters to enforce noncompete, non-solicit, or nondisclosure agreements against former employees.
Cease and desist letters remind former employees of their obligations under the agreement and provide written notice of the former employee’s alleged wrongful conduct. As a former employee, you should know there are a few ways to respond when your previous employer sends you a cease-and-desist letter.
Written Responses to Cease and Desist Letters
First, you can choose to provide a written response after an experienced attorney reviews the letter and your restrictive covenant agreement. This reply letter can address each of the allegations asserted by the former employer and set forth any potential defenses to the allegations, including the unenforceability of the agreement.
Additionally, the letter can notify the former employer of potential counterclaims you may have against them.
Determine Your Rights
Second, you could choose to take a more aggressive approach and file a declaratory action, which asks the court to interpret the agreement and determine the rights of the parties.
In Florida, declaratory relief is recognized to be a valid means by which to determine the enforceability of restrictive covenants, see Argus Photonics Group, Inc. v. Dickenson, 841 So. 2d 598, 599 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003). This may be a good option depending on the circumstances, but it can be costly.
Other Cease and Desist Options
And lastly, while not recommended, you could also choose to do nothing. Although it may be a tempting option, cease-and-desist letters are frequently warnings of more serious actions that your former employer intends to take.