I just spent the last 10 minutes reading about all of the lay-offs in the Roanoke Valley. Our local paper, the Roanoke Times, has cataloged what businesses have been letting people go. It is not good news, and I am sure, we are no where near the end of the cycle.

So what if you signed a non-compete agreement, and now, are being told you no longer have your job? Is the contract valid? Are you really limited to where you can look for a new job? Or what if you are being offered a severance package and new terms of a non-compete? Do you have to sign? Does your employer have to give you a positive recommendation?

The answer to all of the above is – IT DEPENDS ON YOUR CONTRACT.

Some non-compete agreements apply only when the employee voluntarily leaves. Others apply regardless of why you end your employement.

As to severance packages – always think before you sign. Do you really need that money? Is everyone being asked to sign a non-compete upon leaving?

I know the last thing folks want to do when they lose their job is call an attorney, but it might be worth an hour or so of your time and money.

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