In Virginia, a covenant not to compete generally 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 may be paid for employees who sign the covenant, or at times the employment may be conditioned upon such an agreement.
When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?
Foreseeing whether or not a judge will uphold a covenant not to compete is generally difficult. While the employer?s interests are important, Virginia courts place great importance on an individual?s freedom to pursue the employment they want. Accordingly, courts have only upheld those agreements that they consider reasonable under the circumstances. A court will usually hold non-compete clauses to be unreasonable if they involve unusually long periods of time or if they cover a geographic region surrounding Hampton that is excessively large.
Limitations on non-compete clauses must also be restricted to cover only competitors who are related in a rational way to the employer's industry. Finally, an employer is required to have a valid 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 Hampton, Virginia lawyer can help you review the covenant before you sign any documents that might limit your rights. The lawyer can assist you in negotiating modifications or if needed, they can possibly draft a new agreement which will be acceptable to both parties. An attorney can also give valuable advice when it comes to suing employees for breaching covenants, or counseling employees who have signed one about whether they can accept a different job.