Non-Compete Litigation

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

At 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".

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 reasonable 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 of operating.
    • 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 individuals.

Non-compete Lawsuits in Illinois

Unscrupulous companies will sometimes use the threats of non-compete lawsuits to intimidate employees into not accepting opportunities, even when a non-compete agreement is patently unenforceable. If you are an employee, you may face litigation simply for accepting a new position. Your new employer could also face a lawsuit for alleged tortious interference with a non-compete agreement.

Individuals and businesses alike will need legal assistance to protect themselves from these types of claims. Our Chicago non-compete agreement attorney at the Kenny Law Firm can represent employees and employers facing non-compete litigation. We have experience adjudicating these types of cases in Illinois and have the knowledge necessary to aggressively defend against them. Our team can review the contract you signed, weigh the facts of the case, and determine the possibility of whether the agreement is likely to hold up in court.

We can also work with businesses that need to enforce non-compete agreements that are in compliance with Illinois law. We can evaluate the scope of the signed agreement and the offending action to determine if we are able to pursue your case for you.

If you need legal assistance with non-compete agreement litigation in Illinois, schedule a free initial consultation with our team to discuss your options. Call (312) 647-2483 or contact us online to get started.

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