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Omniplex World Services Corp. v. U.S. Investigation Services, Inc.

Virginia Supreme Court
270 Va. 246 (2005)


Facts

In August 2003, employment agency Omniplex World Services Corporation (plaintiff) won a bid to provide staffing services for a sensitive government customer (SGC) on a project known as Project Eagle. To be staffed on the project, potential employees needed a top secret security clearance. Kathleen Schaffer was already working on Project Eagle as an employee of another staffing company when Omniplex won the staffing bid. When Schaffer learned that her current employer no longer had the Project Eagle staffing contract, she sent applications to other staffing agencies, including The Smith Corporation. Before Schaffer received a response from Smith, Omniplex offered Schaffer the opportunity to continue working on Project Eagle as an Omniplex employee. Schaffer accepted the offer and signed a one-year employment contract with Omniplex. The contract contained a noncompetition provision, which stated in part that if Schaffer’s employment with Omniplex terminated before the end of the employment term, Schaffer could not work for any other employer in a position supporting the SGC if that employment required Schaffer to have the same security clearance as required for her employment through Omniplex. Schaffer subsequently began working for Omniplex in a security-support position at the SGC’s general headquarters. However, roughly two months later, Smith contacted Schaffer and offered her a higher-paid position as an administrative assistant for the SGC. Schaffer accepted Smith’s offer and resigned from Omniplex. Omniplex filed a motion for judgment in Virginia state court against Smith’s parent company, U.S. Investigation Services, Inc. (defendant), based on Schaffer’s alleged breach of her employment contract. The trial court found that the noncompetition provision in Schaffer’s employment contract was overly broad and dismissed Omniplex’s motion for judgment. Omniplex appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lacy, J.)

Dissent (Agee, J.)

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