Wow – This is the question of the week.

Dear Frith Law Firm:
I was let go from my job recently. They can’t enforce my non-compete after firing me, can they?

Dear potential client:
The answer depends on your individual contract… and they can always file suit, the real question is whether they will win and have a local court find the contract enforceable.

Some, but not all contracts link the non-competition agreement to “cause” of termination. More simply put, if employee chooses to leave, contract is binding, if employer asks them to leave, clause is not binding.

EVEN if you contract has this link between non-compete and cause, you must be aware you have other things to consider. No matter who decides you need to leave, they can sue for breach of fiduciary duty, trade secret act etc (if you share information you are not supposed to share)…

Most of the agreements I read do not link the enforceability of a non-compete clause to the cause of termination. This means even if the economic down turn caused the company to fire you, they may still be able to enforce a non-compete against you.

FAIR? No, I don’t think so – that is why we encourage folks to consider before they sign but if we are way past that… you may want to call us before you start applying for jobs that would breach your non-compete.

Lauren Ellerman helps business professionals throughout Virginia plan an exit strategy and avoid litigation. To speak with Lauren about your employment contract, email her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.