If you work in the Commonwealth of Virginia and you have signed a contract with your employer that contains a non-compete clause, you may face legal consequences if you violate that agreement. You need to know how this can affect you if you are laid off or decide to change jobs. The law firm Erlich can help you assess these situations and navigate, whether you`re working for an arms contractor in Fairfax, a nonprofit in Alexandria or a tech startup at Tyson`s Corner. And if part of the non-competition agreement is confused, the court will interpret that it is assisting the former employee and harming the employer. Because restrictive agreements are trade restrictions, Virginia law also provides that competition bans must be interpreted strictly against the employer. If the language of the contract is ambiguous, the language is read by the court against the employer and not against the worker. Okay, enough legal talk. In practice, this is a summary of virginia`s non-compete clause: as our society and workforce have become more mobile, the presence of non-competition has increased. What does this mean for current workers and employers? In Virginia, non-competitive agreements are not favoured and are only applied if certain requirements are met.
To be applicable in Virginia, a non-compete alliance (i) must be tight to protect a legitimate business interest, (ii) not be excessively burdensome for the worker`s ability to earn a living and (iii) not be contrary to Virginia`s public policy. Since they are unfavourable in Virginia, an employer bears the burden of proof to maintain a competition agreement, and any ambiguity in the agreement is interpreted against the employer. Assessing whether an employer met this heavy burden in a given case generally depends on the extent of the functional, geographic and temporal elements of the restriction. The courts will jointly review all of these elements in order to reach a final decision. Low-wage workers are required to file their shares within two years, when the date (1) of the competition has been signed; (2) low-wage workers are informed of competition; (3) the worker resigns or is dismissed; or (4) the employer takes all necessary measures to enforce the rules of non-competition. Under the new legislation, courts can overturn violations of non-competition prohibitions, order an injunction and award lost compensation, liquidated damages and reasonable legal fees to successful former employees. In addition, employers should expect civil penalties of up to $10,000 for any violation of the law. Non-competitive agreements include both non-competition and non-appeal agreements between companies and their employees or contractors. Non-compete clauses (or « non-competition clauses ») generally limit a former employee`s ability to join a competitor for a specified period after the former employer`s departure, and the non-registration provisions (often considered a non-compete clause) limit a former employee to solicit the activity from former employer`s clients or to solicit employees from the former employer to leave the company. Because of this restriction on workers` rights, Virginia courts do not want to enforce non-compete agreements.
However, they will do so as long as employers follow certain rules and respect concepts of fairness. We will discuss the most important rules and concepts below. If a court finds that only part of the non-competition agreement is invalid, it will object to the application of one of them. Virginia does not have a « blue pencil rule » that allows courts to remove invalid parts from a contract and enforce valid parties. In Virginia, non-competition bans are an all-or-nothing proposition. On April 9, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed SB 480 (« A law amending the Virginia Code