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302 W. Boscawen St.
Winchester, VA 22601
(540) 722-6800
jfine@joanfinelaw.com

Non-Competition Agreements

If you are an employee being asked to sign a non-competition agreement, or if you are an employer about to hire a new employee, you should have an attorney draft or review the agreement. An agreement drafted by either side will usually favor that side. A review by your attorney will spot potential pitfalls which may be able to be negotiated to a less onerous agreement for the employee and a more legally enforceable agreement for the employer.

If you are an employee who has already signed a non-competition agreement and who now wants to leave and work in competition with a previous employer, we can advise you. We have experience drafting, reviewing, and negotiating non-competition agreements.

Employees

If you have already signed a non-competition agreement, have left to start your own business and receive a letter from your former employer’s attorney, we can negotiate with that attorney to carve out clients and/or geographical areas so that you can continue to operate your business. Case law provides that a non-competition agreement is enforceable if the covenant is "reasonable." A reasonable non-compete "is narrowly drawn to protect the employer’s legitimate business interest, is not unduly burdensome on the employee’s ability to earn a living, and is not against public policy." We have experience negotiating, for example, a carve-out of some of your previous employer’s customers for a set period of time, leaving you free to operate your business, but staying away from those named customers for that set period of time.

Former Employers

If the non-competition agreement is narrowly drawn to protect the former employer’s legitimate business interest, and the former employee has violated it, we can draft a letter to both the former employee and the new employer threatening legal action against both. We can also negotiate with both and/or we can file a complaint against both, depending on the client's goals.

A Meeting

To prepare for your first meeting with us:

  1. If you are an employee, you should bring all documents you have been asked to sign or have signed.
  2. If you are a former employer, you should bring any agreements your former employee signed.