Did you sign one of these?
Does it say something like….
The employee hereby agrees that he/she will not, for a period of 18 months after his or her employment ends for any reason, encourage, solicit, induce, or invite other employees of the company, to leave the company for any reason….
or it might say
The employee hereby agrees that the customers of the company will remain customers of the company and employee will not for a period of 18 months after his or her employment ends for any reason, encourage, solicit, induce, or invite the customers of the company, to do business with you for any reason….
Now, many times – these agreements are not binding because they are unreasonable, etc.
If you were a defense contractor, who helped do IT work for DOD – and you went and opened up a hot dog stand outside of the pentagon, and were sued for soliciting the customers of your old company to buy hot dogs, I doubt very much the Court would say the agreement’s prohibition was reasonable.
But, if you took customer lists, opened a competing business and sent post cards to your old customers – the Court, with those facts, might find you did violate the agreement, as well as take trade secrets etc.
So, before you dismiss a non-solicitation as being fluff, read it. Understand it and maybe have a Virginia attorney that does non-compete / contract and non-solicitation work, review it as well.
PS – do they even have hot dog stands outside of the Pentagon?