Chicago Non-Compete Litigation Lawyer
Protecting Individuals & Businesses from Non-Compete Agreement Litigation
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
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.
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.
The Kenny Law Firm defends 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.
Speak with a non-compete litigation attorney in Chicago at the Kenny Law
Firm backed by over 20 years of experience. Call (312) 647-2483 or
contact us online for a free case evaluation.
About Reasonable Scope and Non-Compete Agreements in Illinois
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?
The efficacy of non-compete agreements varies from state to state, but
in Illinois, they are enforceable if their scope is considered reasonable
and if they are supported by adequate consideration. Courts tend to err
on the side of employees when adjudicating these matters, and the specific
language and terms of the non-compete agreement will often be paramount
in determining its enforceability.
The enforceability of a non-compete agreement in Illinois will require
among other things a legitimate business interest of the employer worth
protecting. Whether there is a legitimate business interest worthy of
protection, Illinois courts consider whether the customer relationships
with the employer are near permanent, whether confidential information
was acquired by the employee during his or her employment, and 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.
Keep scrolling down to read on about non-compete lawsuits for businesses
Get help with navigating non-compete agreements by completing an
online form or dialing (312) 647-2483. We are ready to answer your questions!