Cease and Desist Letters for Non-Competes

Non-compete disputes usually start with a letter.

It arrives via certified mail. The company is threatening to sue for breach of contract.

If you received a cease and desist letter, it’s important you take the letter and your non-compete contract to an attorney to review it. Many times, these types of letters are easily dealt with by a well reasoned, articulate response to the allegations, including a review of the terms of the non-compete to determine whether they are even enforceable and valid under Virginia law. Often, there are a variety of defenses to the non-compete’s enforcement, and once these are detailed by the lawyer in response to the cease and desist letter, the matter can be resolved or dismissed altogether, and the company never follows up on its threat to file a suit over the non-compete.

However, a cease and desist letter can be a precursor to litigation. Therefore, it may trigger various legal obligations on the departing employee that will require careful action in response. First, the cease and desist letter may have been sent to the employee’s current employer, and the employee may need to review the matter with their new company to ensure neither the employee, nor the new company, are caught off guard in litigation. Second, a cease and desist letter likely puts the employee on notice of a potential claim, and therefore the employee might be under a legal duty to preserve evidence that its relevant to the potential claim, including email, text messages, documents, and other items. Again, it is important not to disregard the letter, but to speak with an attorney who can ensure compliance with any legal obligations, communicate with the employee’s new employer, and protect the employee int he event of litigation.

If you have a question about a non-compete lawyer, you should speak with a Virginia non-compete lawyer for more information.