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Home > Employment Law > Restrictive Covenants

Chicago Employment Law Attorneys and Restrictive Covenants in Illinois

Noncompete agreements and other restrictive covenants are often used by employers to protect themselves from an employee who raids the corporate client roster or misuses proprietary information when moving to a new job. However, when a noncompete agreement goes too far, employees may be unfairly prevented from finding gainful employment in their field. Read on to learn more about the intricacies of restrictive covenant law.

Seasoned legal counsel on Illinois restrictive covenant law

While these agreements remain an important security measure for employers, changes in the law in Illinois have altered the terms that these agreements can include. If you’re a Chicago employer and need help drafting a reliable and valid restrictive covenant, or a worker facing unfair restrictions when seeking new employment, contact the seasoned and professional Hoffman Estates employment law attorneys at MacDonald, Lee & Senechalle for a consultation.

Excessively broad noncompete agreements will be held invalid

Noncompete agreements or other contracts that restrict where an employee may find alternate employment must meet specific criteria in order to be upheld by an Illinois court. Noncompete agreements will be considered valid only where the restrictions on the employee are found to be reasonable in scope and necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interest. Legitimate business interests may include, for example, relationships with the employer’s clients or knowledge of trade secrets. Whether a restriction is reasonable in scope will include a consideration of the duration of the covenant, its geographic radius, and the scope of the restrictions on the worker’s future employment.

Recently, courts have issued decisions narrowing the permissibility of noncompete agreements governing Illinois employees. One federal court interpreting Illinois state law found a restriction unreasonable and unenforceable where the judge determined that it would have prevented the employee from taking any work with a company in his field, no matter how far removed the company was from being a direct competitor with the worker’s former employer. This decision is in line with trends in court decisions and state legislation placing restrictions on how employers can protect themselves from harm at the hands of a former worker, and reinforces the need to have informed, experienced legal counsel when drafting a noncompete agreement for use with new employees.

Advice and Assistance with Employment Law Issues in Des Plaines and Hoffman Estates

For effective and trustworthy legal advice on Illinois employment issues, such as employment contracts and restrictive covenants, contact the Des Plaines offices of MacDonald, Lee & Senechalle for a consultation at 847-298-5030, with additional offices in Hoffman Estates at 847-310-0025.

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