Virginia – #1 in Business (code for #50 for employees?)

Virginia – #1 in Business (code for #50 for employees?)

Virginia – #1 in Business (code for #50 for employees?) 150 150 Lauren Ellerman

I have heard it my whole life – “Virginia is open for Business!

As the daughter of a business owner, as a child I was proud of the moniker.

As an attorney who now (a) owns a business and (b) primarily represents employees in business disputes, I have a new take on the open for business tag line, and #1 in Business Title by CNBC.

In sum, when businesses win, employees often lose.

One reason Virginia took the top spot this year, according to Virginia Business Magazine, is the “business- friendly regulatory environment.” Well, what does that really mean?

In sum, and in practice, it means this:

  • Right to work state (can’t be forced to join a union)
  • Very few unions in public sector
  • Very little codified law on how companies must treat employees
  • Courts that will enforce a non-compete agreement (even if it means you must move your family or change jobs)
  • No protected classes outside of federal law – so you can be fired in Virginia, for being gay, or trans, or…
  • Medical Malpractice caps that allow hospitals and doctors to keep insurance costs down
  • Major energy companies finding little state regulation to prevent pipeline construction, takings, etc.
  • Few if any laws that control hiring, firing and employee rights

Business Friendliness (175 points)

The CNBC poll describes business friendliness (for which Virginia ranks 3/50) as:

We evaluate the legal and regulatory climates of each state, as well as overall economic freedom for businesses and individuals.

Wow. For once I am slightly ashamed to be a winner. Or, at least I wish we were paying attention to a different game, one where employees and employers have rights.

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

Back to top