Businesses often use non-compete agreements to prevent employees from either taking a job with a competitor or from starting a competing business for some period of time after leaving employment. Non-compete agreements are allowed in West Virginia. Courts will uphold a non-compete agreement which is necessary to protect legitimate business interests; reasonable in time and space; not harsh or oppressive to the employee and not contrary to public policy.
Is a Non-Compete Agreement Legally Enforceable in West Virginia?
West Virginia permits the enforcement of non-compete agreements. Such agreements must be supported by consideration ancillary to a lawful contract, and not greater than reasonably necessary to protect legitimate business interests. Non-compete agreements must also be reasonable in time and space. They must place no undue hardship on the employee, and not be injurious to the public interest in competition. 
Special provisions govern the use of non-compete agreements involving physician-employees.
What Can Be Protected?
In West Virginia, a non-compete agreement can be used to protect trade secrets; confidential or unique information, and customer lists. A non-compete agreement can also be justified and used to protect an employer’s direct investment in an employee’s skills or business goodwill.
Reasonable Uses and Objections
- Enforceable when terminated without cause? Not decided
- Employee non-solicitation agreement permitted? Yes
- Customer non-solicitation agreements permitted? Yes
- Does continuing employment equal sufficient consideration? No
- Statute of Limitations for breach of contract: 10 years
West Virginia Non-Compete Limitations
West Virginia requires that any non-compete agreement must have a reasonable time limit.
West Virginia requires that non-compete agreements must have reasonable geographical limitations.
West Virginia courts have ruled that there must be mutual consideration to support a non-compete agreement in which both parties make mutual promises or give and receive something of value. New consideration is required to support a non-compete agreement entered into after the start of employment. 
Special provisions of West Virginia law govern physician-employees. The Physicians’ Freedom of Practice Act provides that a non-compete agreement governing a physician may only have a one-year time limit, and may have a maximum geographical restriction of thirty (30) road miles from the physician’s place of practice as an employee. The statute also contains a provision that forbids the enforcement of the non-compete agreement when the employer terminates the relationship. 
If one provision of a non-compete agreement is found to be unreasonable and invalid, the court may rework the restriction to make it enforceable, if the balance of the agreement is otherwise reasonable, under the so-called “blue pencil” doctrine.
West Virginia Non-Compete Agreement Sample
This West Virginia non-compete agreement template will let you draft an agreement for your business: