Courts for some time now have been forced to deal with the validity of covenants not to compete as contained in employment contracts. Considered to be a restraint against trade, these covenants under common law were viewed with disfavor, if not hostility, both nationally and in the Commonwealth of Virginia, as being contrary to the American ideals of individual freedom, competition, and the free flow of commerce. As such they were seldom upheld. It was only after the courts recognized that employers had legitimate concerns and interests worthy of protections that reasonable covenants not to compete began to be enforced by injunction following a breach.
Ann R. Bergan, Kenneth E. Chadwick, Hugh T. Harrison II & Barrett E. Pope,
Employee Covenants Not to Compete: Where Does Virginia Stand?,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol15/iss1/5