Fairfax Non-Compete Agreements Lawyer
When it comes to non-compete agreements, employers and employees alike need to understand what is acceptable. When an employer asks a new employee to sign a non-compete agreement, the employee should understand the exact terms and consider the effect that it may have on their future employment.
When businesses hire new employees, they may want to control the risk that an employee will use proprietary knowledge to start a competing business or go work for a competitor. For this reason, companies may make you sign a non-compete agreement.
If you are concerned about the non-compete agreement you are about to sign or the non-compete agreement from a previous job, a Fairfax non-compete agreements lawyer can provide personal legal advice. Skilled employment attorneys at The Spiggle Law Firm could read through the terms of your non-compete agreement to address any red flags.
What is a Non-Compete Agreement?
A non-compete agreement is a contract that restricts an employee from engaging in business in certain markets or locations for a set period of time. From the employer’s perspective, the idea is that it is protecting itself from losing employees to competitors who can then use their inside knowledge of the business for the benefit of the competitor.
As an employee, this agreement with your employer may be overly restrictive and affect your future career pursuits. A Fairfax court considering non-compete agreements will consider both sides of the issue and typically only enforce agreements that protect legitimate business interests in a reasonable way. This means that the agreement should not overly limit an employee’s ability to earn a living. For more information, get in contact a Fairfax non-compete agreements lawyer.
Typical Contract Provisions
A non-compete agreement cannot simply prohibit employees from working for competitors for an extended period. To be valid and enforceable, the agreement should carefully balance business needs with the rights of the employee. For this reason, an agreement needs to be carefully drafted to set out reasonable provisions including:
- Reason for the agreement
- Effective period
- Geographic area
In Fairfax, if any part of a non-compete agreement is problematic and not enforceable, the entire agreement fails. While this may be a pitfall for employers, this rule can be beneficial for employees attempting to dodge unfair non-compete agreement.
Enforcement of Non-Compete Agreements
To enforce a non-compete agreement in Fairfax County, the employer must prove the agreement is valid and reasonable. In deciding whether an agreement is enforceable, a Virginia court will determine whether the restrictions are necessary to protect legitimate business interests and whether they are an unduly harsh or oppressive constraint on the employee’s ability to earn a living.
Under the first part of this test, the court will look at the interests the business claims it is protecting. Some business interests that a valid agreement can protect include:
- Client/customer contact
- Investment of time and money in the employee
- Confidential financial information
- Trade secrets and business techniques
Under the second part of the test, a court will look at the effect an agreement has on the employee and their ability to earn a livelihood. They will look at the length of the restriction and the types of jobs unavailable to the employee because of it.
An agreement that renders an employee unable to take any job with any competitor, regardless of location and for an extended time, would likely be unenforceable. An agreement that specifies a restriction on only certain types of jobs in a defined market for a reasonable period would fare better.
Getting Help from a Fairfax County Non-Compete Agreements Attorney
Courts carefully scrutinize non-compete clauses and agreements. This means a business considering having employees sign a non-compete should be certain it can prevent unfair competition by drafting an enforceable agreement. Similarly, if you are an employee subject to a non-compete agreement, you should understand to what extent your agreement restricts you now and in the future.
A qualified Fairfax non-compete agreements lawyer could take the time to help you understand your rights and obligations under non-compete agreements. Contact The Spiggle Law Firm in Fairfax County today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you. Whether you are a federal or private employee, you are eligible for a no-cost online review here.