Virginia Non-Competes: What You Read vs. What Your Boss Reads

I love Google Alert, that fabulous daily reminder of what is being written online about a certain topic. Perhaps you have an RSS or Google Alert on Jessica Simpson or the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Mine are mostly work related: “non-compete” and “non-solicitation.”

This morning, Google Alert brought my attention to a new book written specifically for companies discussing the importance of confidentiality agreements and non-compete agreements, Non-Solicitation and Non-Competition Agreements, published by a New Orleans law firm.

Here’s what the author is telling your boss about non-compete agreements.

From the book’s description:

Companies need to protect confidential information that employees obtain during their tenure and could potentially use to take business away from the former employer.

Employers also have an interest in protecting business relationships and any client goodwill that was created prior to or during any part of a departing employee’s tenure. In fact, employers have the same interest even if the relationship was formed during an employee’s tenure, since the companies almost always provide some, if not a significant amount, of support that enables an employee to create a business relationship. Employers, therefore, seek to protect themselves from the misappropriation of confidential information and customer relationships via confidentiality agreements, non-solicitation and non- competition agreements.

While counter-intuitive to most employers, less is more in this situation; all states have a strong public policy enabling employees to be able to freely compete for work, business, etc. Therefore, employers should strive to confect agreements that are no broader than necessary to protect their legitimate interests. This Chapter generally addresses recognized legitimate business interests and how best to protect them. In so doing, the interests of the employee and the public are also discussed.

The author gets it right about Virginia non-compete agreements. Less is more and agreements will only be binding of tailored to protect the legit business interests and nothing more. While I do not disagree with the authors above that well drafted non compete agreements may be valid, I do disagree that they are always necessary to protect companies.

What happened to the good old days where you treated employees well and they didn’t leave? Are we so beyond that contracts are the only way to keep people in line?

As a reminder, check out our book, How to Beat Your Virginia Non-Compete Agreement for Virginia employees. It’s free if you order by phone or email by next Friday, May 11. Give us a call at (540) 986-0098 or email our office manager, Mary Ann Spencer.
Lauren Ellerman

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.