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Non-Compete Agreement Illinois – Mercurius
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Non-Compete Agreement Illinois

Non-Compete Agreements in Illinois: What You Need to Know

If you are an Illinois resident, odds are you have heard of non-compete agreements. These agreements are commonly used in employment contracts to prevent employees from working for a competitor or starting their own competing business within a certain time period after leaving their current employer. However, their legality and enforceability in Illinois has been a contentious issue in recent years.

In 2016, the Illinois Freedom to Work Act was passed, which severely limits the use of non-compete agreements in the state. The act prohibits employers from enforcing non-compete agreements against low-wage workers, defined as those earning less than $13 per hour. It also limits the duration of non-compete agreements to one year and requires employers to provide a written copy of the agreement to the employee at least 14 days before their first day of work.

Despite these limitations, many employers still use non-compete agreements in Illinois. So, what should you consider if you are presented with a non-compete agreement?

First, it is important to understand that not all non-compete agreements are created equal. Some agreements may be overly broad, unreasonable, or even unenforceable. Illinois courts use a “reasonableness” standard to determine whether a non-compete agreement is valid and enforceable. This means that the agreement must be necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests, such as protecting confidential information, trade secrets, or customer goodwill.

Second, it is important to consult with an attorney if you have any questions or concerns about a non-compete agreement. An attorney can review the agreement and provide guidance on its enforceability and any potential legal consequences for violating the agreement.

Finally, it is important to understand the potential consequences of violating a non-compete agreement. If an employer successfully enforces a non-compete agreement, the employee may be prevented from working for a competitor or starting their own competing business for the duration of the agreement. In some cases, the employer may also seek damages for any harm caused by the employee’s violation.

In conclusion, non-compete agreements are a complex issue in Illinois that requires careful consideration. If you are presented with a non-compete agreement, it is important to understand its terms, consult with an attorney, and weigh the potential consequences before signing.


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