The Illinois non-compete agreement is a document used to prevent an employee from taking the skills, information, and clients obtained during their term with an employer and using them to aid the employer’s competitors. In the state of Illinois, a non-compete is deemed reasonable should it protect a legitimate business interest, not restrict the employee unfairly, and remain unharmful to the public. State law also prevents restrictive covenants (that is clauses or agreements which prevent competition, solicitation, or disclosure of information) from being imposed on low-wage employees. Furthermore, as is the case with most states, there must be adequate consideration for the employee to sign the non-compete or non-solicitation.
Laws – No General Statute; however, Reliable Fire Equipment Co. v. Arredondo, 2011 IL 111871 states that a restrictive covenant is reasonable if the following applies:
- It is ancillary to a valid employment relationship
- It is no greater than is necessary to protect the employer’s business interests
- It is not harmful to the public
- It is not unfair to the employee
The Illinois Freedom to Work Act, as of January 1st, 2017, prohibits restrictive covenants and non-compete clauses on low-wage employees (820 ILCS 90/1 to 90/10)
Non-Compete Limit – No statutory definition; however, the length of time cannot impose an undue hardship on the employee.
Non-Solicitation Limit – No statutory definition; however, the length of time cannot impose an undue hardship on the employee.