No such thing as a standard employment contract

So, dear Virginia employee, you have a standard employment contract you say?

  • Does it require you to pay your company’s attorneys fees if you break your contract?
  • Does it allow your company to sell your contract to a new company?
  • Does it give your company access to your personal emails?
  • Does it give your company the right to change your salary at any time without notice?
  • Does it state your company can fire you for no reason, any time they want?
  • Does the prohibit you from working for a client in the future, in any capacity?
  • Does it say you must give 30 days written notice before you leave but they can fire you without notice?


After 8 years of reviewing hundreds of Virginia employment contracts, I have to say the standard Virginia employment contract has most of the above provisions, and is typically pretty one-sided favoring the company and not the employee.

So if you have the standard Virginia employment contract, I am sorry. I wish you hadn’t signed it. I wish you had an attorney review it before you signed it. I wish you understood your rights and restrictions under the contract as well as Virginia common law before you took that new job.

But enough about me and my wishes — Virginia employee, next time you are presented with a standard employment contract, take the time to read it, understand it and if you believe the terms to be oppressive and unfair, don’t sign it! Or, hire an attorney to help you negotiate the terms.


By: NobMouse




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