2020 Virginia Employment Law Developments Virginia Wage Payment Act Amendments– Covenants Not to Compete

On April 12, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed into law new prohibitions restricting the use of covenants not to compete (“non-competes”) for low-wage workers. A non-compete is used by employers to restrict when and where former employees or independent contractors can perform work after ending their relationship with the employer.

Under the new law, effective July 1, 2020, an employer is prohibited from to entering into or enforcing or threatening to enforce a previously entered into non-compete with a “low wage employee.”  A low-wage employee is defined as someone who earns less than the median hourly wage for the Commonwealth for all occupations as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Employees may bring lawsuits to enforce their rights under this new law. If successful they could be awarded lost compensation, liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees, including attorney’s fees incurred in response to any attempt by the employer at enforcing the non-compete against the employee.

If you have any questions about possible wage theft by your employer and would like to speak with an attorney, contact Jeremy Greenberg, Esq.