I love a good analogy.
If you got married, but didn’t say any vows out-loud during the ceremony, do you think you could cheat, lie, steal money and not honor your spouse without consequence?
Of course not.
Everyone knows that marriage comes with certain duties – whether you spell them out during the ceremony or not, you are supposed to honor, cherish, not cheat, be nice, etc..
Employment relationships are the same way. Whether you say certain things in an agreement or not, you owe your employer certain duties.
- You won’t cheat (or compete while an employee – FIDUCIARY DUTY)
- You will honor (You won’t take their business away or say bad things – TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE OF CONTRACT / DEFAMATION)
- You won’t steal (TRADE SECRET ACT / CONVERSION)
Even if you didn’t sign a contract with your employer, there are certain things you cannot, should not do under Virginia law. What are they? Above is a quick list. For specific information however, you may need to contact an attorney.
So before you go discussing your next job or starting a business — be aware. You owe certain duties to your employer not spelled out in your vows. I mean, contract.