“narrowly tailored to protect a legitimate business interest”
Question we are often asked:
Is your non-compete reasonable and enforceable under Virginia law?
Answer we most often give:
Yes, if it is narrowly tailored to protect the legitimate business interest of the company…
What does that really mean?
This week, a Fairfax Virginia Judge http://valawyersweekly.com/2014/03/17/over-broad-geographic-limits-sink-noncompete/ held that it was not likely reasonable for a business to restrict ex-independent contractors from working in a same or similar basis, because the geographic restriction was not limited to the actual places where customers were served.
Example: You serve clients in 3 counties – Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William – but your non-compete says you can’t serve anyone in Virginia. Is soliciting work in Williamsburg really going to harm the business owner? Is a prohibition that prohibits work in Grundy “narrowly tailored to protect a legitimate business interest” of a Loudoun County business? Probably not.
So, can you just start competing if your contract appears to be overbroad or unreasonable?
Every situation is unique. Employment contracts and employees are rarely alike. Therefore, our advice and analysis is rarely the same. However, it is always good when we see a state court judge make the right call on what is and what is not reasonable, in light of the “narrowly tailored” standard.
Need help with your non-compete? Look before you leap and hire an attorney before you leave, compete or move on. Call us today!