Sadly, most Virginians do not know exactly what rights they have as employees in the Commonwealth. Nor do they know the legal consequences of what happens when they exercise these rights.

I would like to share with you fellow Virginians, some basic information about your rights:

1. You have the right to refuse to sign a non-compete / employment agreement.
CONSEQUENCE: You can be fired for refusing or not offered the job at all.

2. You have the right to have your own business on the side.
CONSEQUENCE: You could be sued for breach of contract, conversion, or breach of fiduciary duty if have a contract that states you will not have a side business or an agreement that states all of work product is the employer’s.

3. You have the right to tell clients what you really think about the company after you leave.
CONSEQUENCE: You will be sued for tortious interference of contract, defamation or breach of non-disparagement clause (if such clause exists in your contract).

4. You have the right to ask for severance pay.
CONSEQUENCE: None. Sadly, there is no obligation on behalf of the employer to provide severance either, so while you can ask, they do not have to provide one.

Basically, you don’t have many rights in an at will state. You have the right to work until you are told otherwise.

If you have questions about your employment agreement, call today.

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