In Virginia, a covenant not to compete usually requires that, upon leaving the company, an employee agrees not to be employed by their employer's competitors. A covenant not to compete may also be called a "non-compete clause". Compensation might be paid for employees who sign the covenant, or at times the employment might be conditioned upon such an agreement.
When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?
It is difficult to discern whether a judge will enforce a given non-compete agreement. Even though the interests of an employer are significant, Virginia courts value a person's freedom to select the type of employment that they desire. Thus, courts will typically uphold only those covenants not to compete that they conclude to be reasonable. Those agreements that courts have seen to be unreasonable include those that last for an prolonged period of time or cover geographic areas around Bluefield that are unreasonably large.
Limitations on non-compete clauses must also be restricted to cover only competitors who are related in a reasonable way to the employer's industry. Lastly, an employer is required to have a legitimate business reason in its motivation for imposing a covenant not to compete on an employee.
Do I Need an Attorney when Dealing with a Covenant not to Compete?
A Bluefield, Virginia lawyer can help you review the covenant before you sign any provisions that might limit your rights. The lawyer can help you in negotiating modifications or if needed, they can possibly draft a new agreement which will be acceptable to both parties. When it comes to suing an employee for breach of a non-compete clause, an attorney can provide valuable advice. They will also be able to counsel employees who need advice for a covenant they have signed.