Virginia Right to Work State Definition

The term “right to work state” has nothing to do with non compete agreements.

Under Virginia law, here is the basic definition of right to work state: you have a right to work for an employer without being compelled to join a union. Not every state has right to work laws. In Michigan, for example, unions exert considerable influence in the workplace, and so-called “closed shops” can force you to join a union as a condition of working for the company. However, in Virginia, which is a “right to work state,” you do not have to join a union at a particular company simply to work there. In other words, the law allows you the right to work without having to pay union dues.

So what does “right to work state” have to do with non compete agreements in Virginia?

The answer is nothing. Just because is a right to work state, you can still be held to the terms of your non compete agreement.

It sounds counterintuitive. After all, if you have a “right to work,” doesn’t that mean you have a right to avoid the harsh terms of a non compete contract? In other words, shouldn’t you have a right to work anywhere you choose without having to comply with the non compete?

Unfortunately, Virginia’s status as a “right to work state” is not a defense to the enforcement of a non compete agreement. The two concepts are completely separate. As a “right to work state,” you may not have to pay union dues. But you might still have to comply with a non compete agreement.

If you are an employee with a non compete agreement, or a company looking to hiring someone with a non compete agreement, keep in mind that not every non compete contract is enforceable. Virginia law of non compete contracts is rather strict, and a Virginia non compete lawyer can review the contract and help advise you if it is enforceable.

For more information about your contract, contact a Virginia non compete lawyer.