Can I file a lawsuit against my employee for accepting a proposal from the company’s client for a side job?

I have a small growing construction company (home improvement). I am currently in the process of creating a contract agreement between my company and employees. I would like to state on my contract that if any employee accepts a proposal from our clients to do a side job without approval from my permission as the owner, the company will file a lawsuit against him or her. Can I do this?

Asked on October 24, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can do this. What you are talking about has elements of a non-solicitation agreement (i.e. don't look for work from the compay's clients) and a non-competition agreement (i.e. you can't compete, at least for a limited time--e.g. while employed and perhaps for 6 - 12 months after employment ends, if the employee leaves employment voluntarily) with the company in its local geographic market. Both kinds of agreements are enforceable; you could draft them yourself, but it would be a better idea to have an attorney help you.

Also, unless your employees have employment contracts, they are employees at will. You could fire an employee at will at any time for taking a side job from your clients, and you could let them know that they are not allowed to do so, or else they will be fired.

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