Employment; covenants not to compete, definition of low-wage employees, civil penalty. (SB480)

Introduced By

Sen. Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach) with support from co-patron Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Covenants not to compete; low-wage employees; civil penalty. Prohibits an employer from entering into, enforcing, or threatening to enforce a covenant not to compete between the employer and a low-wage employee. The employer is subject to a civil penalty of $10,000 per violation. The bill defines "low-wage employee" as either (i) an employee, intern, student, apprentice, or trainee whose average weekly earnings are less than the average weekly wage of the Commonwealth or who is employed without pay or (ii) an independent contractor who is compensated for his services at an hourly rate that is 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. The bill defines "covenant not to compete" as an agreement that restrains, prohibits, or otherwise restricts an individual's ability to compete with his former employer. The bill allows any low-wage employee subject to such a covenant not to compete to bring a civil action against an employer and seek appropriate relief, including enjoining the conduct of any person or employer, ordering payment of liquidated damages, and awarding lost compensation, damages, and reasonable attorney fees and costs. The bill provides that if the court finds a violation of the bill's provisions, the plaintiff is entitled to recover reasonable costs, including reasonable fees for expert witnesses, and attorney fees from the former employer or other person who attempts to enforce a covenant not to compete against such plaintiff. The bill requires all employers to post in the workplace a notice of the prohibition or a summary of the notice approved by the Department of Labor and Industry and provides that an employer is subject to a warning for a first offense and to a civil penalty for a subsequent offense for failure to post such notice or approved summary. The provisions of the bill are applicable to covenants not to compete entered into on or after July 1, 2020. This bill is identical to HB 330. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/07/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20103725D
01/07/2020Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor
01/23/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB480)
01/27/2020Reported from Commerce and Labor (14-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
01/29/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/30/2020Read second time and engrossed
01/31/2020Passed by for the day
02/03/2020Engrossment reconsidered by Senate (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/03/2020Reading of amendment waived
02/03/2020Amendment by Senator Petersen agreed to
02/03/2020Engrossed by Senate as amended SB480E
02/03/2020Printed as engrossed 20103725D-E
02/03/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
02/03/2020Passed Senate (34-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
02/13/2020Placed on Calendar
02/13/2020Read first time
02/13/2020Referred to Committee on Labor and Commerce
02/18/2020Reported from Labor and Commerce with substitute (19-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/18/2020Committee substitute printed 20108594D-H1
02/20/2020Passed by for the day
02/21/2020Passed by for the day
02/24/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB480H1)
02/24/2020Read third time
02/24/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20108594D-H1
02/24/2020Engrossed by House - committee substitute SB480H1
02/24/2020Passed House with substitute (80-Y 19-N)
02/24/2020VOTE: Passage (80-Y 19-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2020House substitute rejected by Senate (0-Y 40-N) (see vote tally)
02/27/2020House insisted on substitute
02/27/2020House requested conference committee
03/02/2020Senate acceded to request (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2020Conferees appointed by Senate
03/02/2020Senators: DeSteph, Spruill, Bell
03/03/2020Conferees appointed by House
03/03/2020Delegates: VanValkenburg, Gooditis, Marshall
03/04/2020C Amended by conference committee
03/04/2020Conference substitute printed 20109575D-S1
03/04/2020Conference report agreed to by House (74-Y 20-N)
03/04/2020VOTE: Agree To (74-Y 20-N) (see vote tally)
03/05/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB480S1)
03/07/2020Conference report agreed to by Senate (34-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
03/18/2020Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB480ER)
03/18/2020Signed by President
03/19/2020Signed by Speaker
03/20/2020Enrolled Bill Communicated to Governor on March 20, 2020
03/20/2020G Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., April 11, 2020
03/23/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB480ER)
04/09/2020G Approved by Governor-Chapter 949 (effective 7/1/20)
04/09/2020G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0949)