Is my non-compete enforceable?

It reads that I can’t work for the same type of company for 3 years within a 50 mile radius. I’ve been told this

isn’t enforceable. Also, my employer let an attorney go to a firm practicing the same type of law and I’m just support staff.

Asked on December 12, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Non-competition agreements are enforceable in your state, but the agreement you describe is not enforceable as written: rather, if your employer were to try to enforce this against you, a court would "blue pencil" (basically, edit) it to an enforceable agreement and hold you to that.
In your state (and most), a non-compete is only enforceable to protect the employer's legitimate interests in not having a former employee compete (or help another compete) with it. That means that--
1) it would be enforceable only against firms that actually compete with your employer--if you work for a personal injury firm, it would prevent you from working for other PI firms, but not for real estate, landlord-tenant, corporate, intellectual property, family law, criminal law, etc. firms;
2) 3 years is almost always too long a time period except for the most senior employees, whose competition could do the most damage--for support staff, assume it could be enforced against you for 6 - 12 months, no more.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.