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 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?

Foreseeing whether or not a judge will uphold a covenant not to compete is generally difficult. 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. Terms contained in a covenant not to compete will be struck down by a court as unreasonable if they bind the employee for an unusually long period of time or if they cover an unreasonably large geographic area around Vinton.

Covenants not to compete are also required to deal only with competitors who are reasonably related to the employer's line of industry. Finally, the employer must have a legitimate business interest behind its motivation for mandating a covenant not to compete.

Do I Need an Attorney when Dealing with a Covenant not to Compete?

Since covenants could restrict your rights, you may wish to hire a Vinton, Virginia lawyer to review any documents. They will be able to negotiate further changes to the covenant, and can draft an entirely new one that is acceptable to all parties if needed. A lawyer can also render useful advice for employers who are contemplating suing an employee for breach of covenant, or they can counsel employees who have signed such an agreement.