So Virginia is a right to work state – what does that mean? Ask the experts.

Have you noticed the poster in your office that says you live and work in a Right to Work state? What does that mean?

It is a topic I write on often. In the last few years I have written on the topic no less than five times (complete list and link to these articles on what “Right to Work” really means is here), and yet I still hear very smart people calling our office all the time believing the law has something to do with their non-compete agreement.

Here is a great non lawyer perspective on what right to work means.. and it has to do with unions, and being required to join a union. Watch.

Did you hear her say anything about non-competes? About the right to feed your family or take a job if you have a non-compete? Nope. She didn’t say any of those things. Union. Union. Union. Union was the message.

And listen to this message from ex and now famous Governor Bob McDonnell speak about Virginia’s pro-business environment. He states businesses come here because we are a right to work state… “a lot of exciting opportunities happening here in Virginia… say YES to more opportunities for success by saying YES” to Virginia.

Again, no mention of your confidentiality agreement, or non-compete. Sadly, when you sign a contract that says you won’t compete, you don’t often have the Right to Compete. You don’t have the right to feed your family or the right to use your skills as you wish. You may have limited your rights by signing a contract agreeing to that limitation.

So, today’s lesson is about Virginia law, and how Right to Work has nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing to do with your non-compete agreement.




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