Question

Are Noncompete Agreements Enforceable in Virginia?

James E. Autry - Real Estate - Super Lawyers

Answered by: James E. Autry

Culin, Sharp, Autry & Day, PLC
Fairfax, VA
Phone: 703-934-2940
Fax: 703-934-2943

View Profile
Answer

Many companies routinely ask their employees to sign noncompete agreements. While this is an acceptable practice in Virginia, there are rules around how burdensome and broad companies can make these agreements.

If your noncompete agreement seems unfair to the point that it harms your ability to make a living or it extends beyond the reasonable bounds of protecting the interests of your employer, then it may be unenforceable.

What Rights Do Employees Have?

First, if you have not signed a noncompete agreement with your employer, you are free to compete with your former employer once you end your employment. This rule changes if your employer had you sign a noncompete agreement as a condition of employment.

Virginia law limits how restrictive these agreements can be, and even after signing you retain the right to be able to earn a living. The legal expectation is that noncompete agreements are to be narrowly drawn to specifically protect reasonable business interests.

This means that agreements that are overly restrictive cover business interests beyond areas that the business works in, or that simply makes it nearly impossible for a former employee to pursue their career, may not be enforceable.

What Can Happen if I Break a Noncompete Agreement?

Ideally, you would have a lawyer review the document before you sign a non-compete agreement. Similarly, if you have recently ended your employment and have questions about an agreement you previously signed, you should consult with an attorney to understand to what degree it is enforceable.

If a former employer does challenge you, they will need to be able to prove that you actually engaged in prohibited actions, that you did so within the time and locations covered by the agreement, and that the agreement itself is reasonable. This can be challenging for an employer to prove (though certainly not impossible), and companies have successfully acted against former employees in breach of a noncompete agreement.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

Other Answers About Employment Law - Employee

Employment Law - Employee

Are Georgia Employers Required To Pay Overtime?

Workers who go the extra mile for their employers should receive full compensation for the hours they work. This includes any overtime pay they are …

Answered by: Michael Caldwell

Employment Law - Employee

What rights do I have as a pregnant employee in California?

Many women are concerned about what their rights are when they become pregnant. This is intended to be a practical guide about what rights pregnant …

Answered by: Christopher R. LeClerc

Employment Law - Employee

When does mistreatment at work become unlawful in Oregon?

If you are being harassed or discriminated against at work, or were unfairly terminated, you may wonder whether you can bring a legal action to …

Answered by: Randy J. Harvey

Disclaimer:

If you send a lawyer or law firm email through this service, your email will not create an attorney-client relationship and will not necessarily be treated as privileged or confidential. You should not send sensitive or confidential information via this email service. The lawyer or law firm to whom you are writing may not choose to accept you as a client. Moreover, as the Internet is not necessarily a secure environment it is possible that your email sent via the Internet might be intercepted and read by third parties. Super Lawyers will not retain a copy of this message.

Page Generated: 0.72894096374512 sec