Can I ask to be released from my non-compete? In a word, yes.
Does your employer have to let you out of it? In a word, no way.

Often times we have clients call our office who may know they are stuck with a non-compete, but are hopeful their employer will let them out of the agreement.
Although we have seen employers release their employees, they are almost always motivated by a little cash money.

How much money you may ask? Well, it depends.

Are you a valued employee? How much do you make? How long have you been there? Do you know where you want to work next? How long is the agreement for? Is your boss a litigious fellow (meaning – likes to sue people)?

Every case is different – so I cannot share with you a formula for how much, but I have seen a trend in my own cases, of 10% annual salary as a buy out. So if you made $30,000 – maybe $3,000 for year of non-compete would be fair. If however, you are the mastermind behind a company – I doubt 10% will do the trick.

So what is the positive side to attempting a buy out? It might work and you may leave on good terms. Negative aspects of a buy out? It may not work and you have essentially told your employer you plan on breaching the agreement.

With everything in life – there is a risk. Sometimes however, a buyout will provide the release you need from your non-compete contract.

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