Last February I posted a blog about whether Virginia employees were still bound by non-compete agreements if they were laid off.

Sadly, as the economy continues in a downward spiral, Dan and I are still being asked that question all the time.

In fact, my husband, one of the smartest lawyers I know said this week “Now how can it be fair that a company fires someone and then sues them for breaching their non-compete?”

My answer was simple “It’s not fair, but it is legal because people agreed to those terms in a contract.”

When we review an employment agreement, advise an individual after a job change, or assist them in litigation once suit has been filed or a cease and desist letter sent, we always provide advice in the following two areas:

1. How not to get sued
2. How not to breach the contract

In order to prevail against an ex-employee, a company has to prove (1) BREACH OF CONTRACT or other business tort; AND (2) DAMAGES.

Can they really claim they have been damaged when they fired you? Yes, sometimes they can.

I agree, it isn’t fair that you can be sued after you have been fired… but sadly whether a contract is binding is not decided on whether it is fair.

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