Non-Compete Agreements in Illinois – What You Need to Know
If you are a business owner in Illinois, you may have heard about non-compete agreements. These are agreements between an employer and employee that restrict an employee`s ability to work for a competitor after leaving their current job. Non-compete agreements are becoming increasingly common in many industries but they are also highly controversial.
In Illinois, non-compete agreements are legal but they are subject to strict limitations. The main purpose of these agreements is to protect a business`s legitimate business interests, such as confidential information, trade secrets, and customer relationships. However, they cannot be used to prevent employees from finding work or to stifle competition in the marketplace.
The enforceability of non-compete agreements in Illinois depends on several factors. Among them are the duration of the agreement, the geographic scope of the restriction, the type of employee involved, and the nature of the employer`s business.
Here are some key things to keep in mind when drafting or reviewing a non-compete agreement in Illinois:
1. Length of time: Non-compete agreements are generally enforceable in Illinois for a reasonable time period, which is usually considered to be two years or less.
2. Geographic scope: The geographic area of a non-compete agreement must also be reasonable. For example, if the employer`s business is limited to a particular city or region, the non-compete should be limited to that area as well.
3. Nature of the business: Illinois courts also consider the type of business when evaluating the enforceability of a non-compete agreement. A non-compete agreement for a cashier at a retail store is likely to be viewed differently than one for a high-level executive at a Fortune 500 company.
4. Consideration: For a non-compete agreement to be enforceable in Illinois, the employee must receive something of value in exchange for signing it. This is known as “consideration.” The consideration could be a signing bonus, a promotion, or even continued employment.
5. Public policy: Finally, non-compete agreements in Illinois must be consistent with public policy. For example, if the agreement prevents an employee from working in their chosen field or industry, it may be viewed as too restrictive and unenforceable.
In conclusion, while non-compete agreements are legal in Illinois, they are subject to significant limitations. If you are considering implementing a non-compete agreement for your employees, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that your agreement is enforceable and in compliance with Illinois law.