I am frequently asked this question, “I started my new job 6 months ago and now my boss wants me to sign a noncompete agreement…can they do this? The answer is YES.
Virginia is an “employment at will” state. This means that, absent a written employment agreement which defines the job and its duration, your employer can fire you for any reason or no reason at all. In other words, your boss can fire you for not signing the noncompete agreement even though it was not mentioned when you accepted the job.
In some states, courts will not enforce a noncompete agreement executed after the commencement of the job, finding that there is no “legal consideration” for the new promise by the employee not to compete with the employer. In those states, the only way around this problem for the employer is to pay the employee a bonus or give them a pay raise in return for signing the noncompete agreement. Unfortunately, Virginia law does not require the payment of additional consideration and considers continuing employment as sufficient legal consideration.
Virginia is not a great place to be an employee!