Chicago Non-Compete Litigation Lawyer
Protecting Individuals and Businesses in Illinois
Businesses are understandably wary of losing employees to competitors,
especially if a parting is not on agreeable terms. While individual employees
have the right to pursue other opportunities and grow their careers, companies
may remain concerned that some could cause significant damage to their
competitive position if they take trade secrets or operational knowledge
to a rival firm. Many businesses will consequently attempt to employ non-compete
agreements that restrict an employee’s ability to work for their
competitors within a certain geographic radius for a specific duration of time.
How Can An Illinois Non-Compete Agreement Affect You?
After you resign from your job or are released by your employer, the non-compete
agreement should have provisions that details a period of time when you
cannot compete. You must abide the agreement until the specified period
is reached an end -- then, you are able to seek employment wherever you like.
The State of Illinois Regulates Non-Compete Agreements
While non-compete agreements and other restrictive covenants can be used
to protect a business’s interests, they can also be
abused to restrict a former employee’s mobility. Many individual employees
struggle to find new jobs in their chosen field for fear of violating
a non-compete agreement. The state of Illinois regulates the scope of
these agreements, but some firms will nonetheless pursue litigation against
individuals and their new employers, even if the terms of a non-compete
contract are patently unenforceable.
How The Kenny Law Firm Can Help You
The Kenny Law Firm, our non-compete agreement litigation lawyers in Chicago defend employees
and individuals accused of violating their employment contract and tortious
interference, respectively. We also work with small-to-medium-sized businesses
in enforcing valid non-compete agreements.
Talk to a non-compete litigation attorney in Chicago at the Kenny Law Firm
backed by 20+ years of experience in
employment litigation. Call (312) 647-2483 or
contact us online for a free case evaluation.
What is "Reasonable Scope" in Non-Compete Agreements?
In order to be enforceable, Illinois non-compete agreements must be within
Reasonable scope means that the agreement must:
- Protect a legitimate business interest
- Does not place an undue hardship on the employee
- Does not violate public policy
It is reasonable for a business to want to protect itself when an employee
chooses to depart. Depending on the nature of the industry, a high-level
worker could potentially give competing area firms an unfair competitive
advantage by bringing over clients, trade secrets, and other forms of
institutional knowledge. Still, as an employee, you deserve the freedom
to consider alternative employment options and should not be permanently
and unjustly unanchored to a single company.
What Makes Non-Compete Agreements Enforceable?
In Illinois, non-compete agreements are enforceable if their scope is considered
and if they are supported by adequate consideration.
The enforceability of a non-compete agreement in Illinois will require:
- A legitimate business interest of the employer worth protecting.
- Whether the customer relationships with the employer are near permanent
- Whether confidential information was acquired by the employee during his
or her employment,
Whether the following are appropriately tailored to the employer’s interest:
Geographic Limitations. Non-compete agreements will generally restrict an employee from working
for a competing entity within a certain radius in any area where their
former employer currently conducts business or imminently intends to conduct
business. A company cannot arbitrarily declare that a former worker cannot
work in an area where they have no operation or at least an intention
Duration of the Restrictions. Many non-compete agreements have been successfully enforced whose restrictions
last for a period of at least several years. Those with highly specialized
knowledge that could be damaging if provided to a rival can potentially
face longer restrictions.
Type of Restricted Activity. A successful non-compete agreement generally should only restrict activities
that actively represent a competitive threat to the employer. Any effort
to restrict activities that do not directly compete with a former employer
is unlikely to be successful.
A non-compete agreement must also not inflict an undue burden on an employee. In practice, this means that overly broad non-compete agreements that
overly restrict an employee’s ability to find a new job will likely
be deemed at least partially unenforceable. Terms of a non-compete agreement
must also not violate any local, state, or federal laws.
Courts tend to err on the side of employees when adjudicating these matter,
and the specific language and terms of the non-compete agreement will
often be paramount in determining its enforceability.
Continue below to read more about non-compete lawsuits for businesses and
Get help with navigating non-compete agreements by completing an
online form or dialing (312) 647-2483. Chicago non-compete litigation attorneys at
Kenny Law Firm are ready to answer your questions.