Last February I posted a blog about whether Virginia employees were still bound by non-compete agreements if they were laid off.
Sadly, as the economy continues in a downward spiral, Dan and I are still being asked that question all the time.
In fact, my husband, one of the smartest lawyers I know said this week “Now how can it be fair that a company fires someone and then sues them for breaching their non-compete?”
My answer was simple “It’s not fair, but it is legal because people agreed to those terms in a contract.”
When we review an employment agreement, advise an individual after a job change, or assist them in litigation once suit has been filed or a cease and desist letter sent, we always provide advice in the following two areas:
1. How not to get sued
2. How not to breach the contract
In order to prevail against an ex-employee, a company has to prove (1) BREACH OF CONTRACT or other business tort; AND (2) DAMAGES.
Can they really claim they have been damaged when they fired you? Yes, sometimes they can.
I agree, it isn’t fair that you can be sued after you have been fired… but sadly whether a contract is binding is not decided on whether it is fair.