Non-Competes and Virginia’s Constitution

Non-Competes and Virginia’s Constitution

Non-Competes and Virginia’s Constitution 150 150 Lauren Ellerman

There is nothing on Virginia’s ballot this November that relates to non-compete agreements. My efforts have not been that successful. 

Nor is there a law likely to pass in the Virginia General Assembly this Winter that in any way impacts restrictive covenants in Virginia employment agreements. 

Right now, the law in Virginia is basically – your non-compete is valid, and binding if it is reasonable and tailored to protect your employer’s legitimate business interest. 

That is not likely to change in the near future. Sorry friends. Sorry employees. 

Further, allow me to dispel the myth – YOU DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO WORK in Virginia – or break your Non-compete, or accept a job with a competitor because Virginia is a Right to Work state. 

Here is a basic primer on what Right to Work really means in Virginia: Right to Work Article

Do you plan to vote on November 8th? I do. And I will have the opportunity to make Virginia’s Right to Work laws (regarding mandatory union membership and having nothing to do with your non-compete, I promise) as part of the Commonwealth’s Constitution. 

The Washington Post has written about it. There are resources online to allow a deeper dig for those who want to be educated on the issue prior to making a selection – See ballotpedia.

But for those of you who are busy, and think you understand what Right to Work means, I beg you – please do not support the ballot initiative if you think, “Hey, I don’t like being bound by a non-compete, Hell yes I want Virginia’s constitution to say it’s a Right to Work state!” Even worse, would be your actions in the near future based upon this. For example – “Hey boss, I plan to breach my non-compete  because everyone in Virginia is about to add that right to the constitution!”

Just know, Right to Work has NOTHING to do with your non-compete. Never did. Never will. Don’t get excited. 

Also, whether you are a fan of the law or not, do we really need to amend the constitution to include it? I don’t think so. I’m not sure it is a fundamental right like voting or racial equality – but I will allow you to answer that one for yourselves.

Good luck – and see you on November 8th. 


About the author

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

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