In the Spirit of the Season (Easter) and the traditional EGG HUNT where small children toddle across green grass in search of brightly colored plastic eggs filled with treasures and treats, I thought I would write about the ever popular NON-COMPETE HUNT.


You haven’t heard of it?

Well, like its’ cousin the Easter Egg, a non-compete can be found in various places, often hidden out of plain sight.

You might find them in any of the following places:

– an offer letter
– employee handbook
– Franchise agreement
– Contract entitled “non-disclosure”
– Contract entitled “employment agreement”
– Contract entitled “non-solicitation”
– Severance Agreement
– Stock purchase agreement
– Bonus structure

In my state, you do not have to put the language in bold, or CAPS or really make the language clear. Employers and their creative attorneys can place these little suckers in any manner of documents, using any kind of language they so chose.

So, again, keeping with the spirit of the season, I encourage the following.

Dig deep.
Look behind the hydrangea bushes in the deepest darkest places of your employee handbook, or in contracts signed years ago.

Dig out behind the concrete cat statute to look for eggs, or in your offer letter to find some non-compete language.

The non-compete hunt rarely will lead you to foil covered chocolate treats, but you need to know what you have agreed to. And for that reason alone it is worth the hunt.

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