Are Non-Compete Agreements Legal in Virginia? Are They Enforceable?
I am certain you have heard the rumor by now, that non-compete contracts are not legal in Virginia. Well, like most rumors, that is NOT true. Maybe you have also incorrectly heard that these agreements are across the board, unenforceable. Did you hear that one?
Under Virginia law, employment contracts that prevent you from competing are disfavored, but legal. The Court will examine each contract on a case by case basis, and determine whether (1) the agreement is drafted to protect the employer’s legitimate business interest; (2) whether the agreement is overbroad and (3) whether enforcing the agreement would violate public policy.
Is a two year non-compete agreement in Virginia overly broad and unenforceable? In some cases yes. In some cases no.
Is a 50 mile non-compete agreement in Virginia overly broad and unenforceable? In some cases yes. In some cases no.
Each case, each contract and each industry will be examined on a case by case basis. This of course means there is no formula available to my clients when they ask whether their contracts will be enforced.
Although Dan and I are happy to represent you in litigation over your non-compete agreement, and ask the Court to decide whether the agreement is unenforceable, the process can be expensive, emotionally draining and difficult. Not to mention the fact courts do sometimes hold agreements are enforceable, and enjoin persons from engaging in competitive businesses and/or employment.
We provide the following Business Litigation support:
- Review of your Virginia employment agreement / non-compete before you sign
- Review of your Virginia employment agreement / non-compete after you have signed
- Review and advice once litigation is threatened over your non-compete agreement
- Seek court ruling on enforceability of your non—compete contract
- Defend you in litigation over breach of contract and other business torts under Virginia law, such as: breach of fiduciary duty, Trade Secret Act, defamation, and more.