I often ask clients, “Do you want to know, even before you start your new business, whether your employment contract is considered valid and enforceable in a Virginia court?” The Home Paramount court`s decision means that The Virginia preliminary courts are likely to oppose the application of competition agreements with undue restrictions on the former employee`s future activities. Even if you are serious about starting your own business, or if you are convinced that your new business will not run counter to your old contract, ask a lawyer to verify the contract. The “functional” element compares the former employee`s future limited activities to his or her previous employment. The “geographic element” refers to the geographical area in which the former worker is prohibited from competition (usually expressed in miles from the former employer`s place of business or the name of a city, county or state). The “duration” element refers to the duration of the restriction (usually expressed in years). It is likely that non-competition prohibitions will be enforced if the distance limit is low and the time limit is short. Virginia does not allow (a) to rewrite unreasonable alliances (to make them reasonable) or (b) “blue pencils” (erasing inappropriate parts and applying other provisions). Under Virginia law, non-competition prohibitions are applicable if they are narrow to protect a legitimate business interest and are not unduly penalizing the worker`s ability to earn a living and not against public order. The burden of proof rests with the employer who wants to enforce the agreement to prove that it is appropriate. Nevertheless, hundreds of district courts and federal courts have ruled that employment contracts with non-compete agents are enforceable. Whether a non-competition agreement applies against you is an issue that the court will judge on a case-by-case basis. The following questions generally guide the court`s analysis: (1) Is the agreement itself a valid contract? (2) If the contract is valid, is it reasonable? (3) If the worker is valid and reasonable, has the worker broken the contract? (4) If the worker breached the contract, did he cause harm? In Virginia, both workers and employers must turn to an experienced lawyer without competition, as there is no “one size fits all” for applicability.