Offer Letters and Employment Agreements in Florida

Offer Letters and Employment Agreements in Florida

Before a new employee starts work, it is important to ensure that both sides are in agreement regarding the employee’s job duties, compensation, benefits and other relevant terms and conditions of employment.  These matters should be set forth in writing in an offer letter and/or employment agreement drafted and negotiated by an attorney.  Our Florida employment lawyers advise clients on how to significantly minimize the risks of future conflicts and protect their rights by utilizing these documents and other methods to clarify the employment relationship. 

How Do Offer Letters and Employment Agreements Differ in Florida?

In Florida, offer letters are typically sent to all prospective hires immediately following a verbal job offer.  They provide key details about the position, as discussed in the next section.  In contrast, employment agreements are usually only given to executives or key employees.  They are more detailed than offer letters and discuss issues unique to high-level employees, such as non-competition, confidentiality and deferred compensation provisions. 

What Are Common Provisions in Offer Letters and Employment Agreements?

A properly drafted offer letter or employment agreement benefits both parties.  While they should always be customized for the specific position and parties involved, there are several common provisions. 

Offer Letters

An offer letter generally provides the job title and description, compensation and benefits package, bonus structure, vacation, holidays, leave policy and start date.  It may also state that the employee agrees to arbitrate employment disputes.  In most cases, it will state that employment is ‘at-will’ meaning either party can end the relationship at any time for any reason or no reason at all.  There may also be other provisions depending on the nature of the job.

Employment Agreements

Executives and key employees expect additional details and guarantees regarding their position, beyond what is in an offer letter.  These will be included in an employment agreement.  Such contracts typically provide information on performance obligations, discretionary bonuses, stock options, deferred compensation and fringe benefits.  They also may contain limitations on the employer’s right to terminate except for cause and provide for an exit or severance package.  Restrictive covenants are also commonly included in employment agreements as discussed in the next section.

Restrictive Covenants

Both offer letters and employment agreements may contain restrictive covenants.  These are provisions that limit the activities of an employee after employment has ended.  There are three main types:

  • Non-competition.  Employees are prohibited from working for a competitor or starting a competitive business for some set period and within a certain geographic area after employment ceases.  
  • Non-solicitation.  Employees cannot solicit customers or suppliers of the former employer. 
  • Nondisclosure or confidentiality.  Employees cannot use or disclose proprietary information, such as trade secrets and client lists. 

Importantly, there are stringent requirements that must be met before such provisions are considered enforceable in Florida.  

What Legal Remedies Are Available in Florida If the Agreement is Breached?

Either party may sue in Florida court if there is a breach of contract unless the offer letter or employment agreement requires arbitration of disputes.  Employees can generally recover lost wages if the employer breaches.  Employers may seek damages from an employee who breaches if they suffered monetary losses or may obtain injunctive relief to enforce a restrictive covenant. 


Before hiring an employee or accepting a job offer, consulting an attorney for guidance can help avoid future problems.  Our Florida employment attorneys have extensive experience advising clients regarding their rights and obligations under employment laws and drafting and negotiating offer letters and employment agreements.  Contact one of our team for assistance with your matter. 

Photo by Thomas Vena on Unsplash


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