Today (November 4, 2011), the Virginia Supreme Court handed down a decision which is a huge victory for the little guys…the employees in Virginia.
In Home Paramount Pest Control v. Justin Shaffer, the court held that an ex-employee was not bound by the terms of his non-compete he signed with his employer. Home Paramount Pest Control’s noncompete provided that, for two years, a former employee could not engage “directly or indirectly” in “any manner whatsoever” in conducting broadly identified activities of a pest control business.
Home Paramount’s noncompete provision would have prevented former employee, Justin Shaffer, from working in the pest control industry in any capacity. The provision’s language was so broad it would have restricted Shaffer from even being “a passive stockholder of a publicly traded international conglomerate with a pest control subsidiary.
Interestingly, the same Virginia Supreme Court upheld the identical language of Home Paramount’s noncompete over 20 years ago in Paramount Termite Control v. Rector.
My Take: Virginia employees will no longer be held hostage to outrageously broad noncompete agreements which do not take into consideration the actual function performed by the former employee at his/her old job and at their new job.