Illinois Joins the Mainstream With Respect to Non-Competes


The Illinois Supreme Court recently brought Illinois into the mainstream of non-compete agreements. Like a majority of states across the country, Illinois courts must now determine whether an employer has a legitimate business interest that warrants the imposition of a restrictive covenant, whether the covenant presents an undue burden, and whether it is contrary to the public interest. In short, Illinois courts must determine whether a restrictive covenant is reasonable under the circumstances.

Prior to the Supreme Court's decision, which is available in pdf format below, a variety of Illinois intermediate appellate courts had produced "erroneous" standards for determining whether a restrictive covenant is enforceable under Illinois law. One appellate court had suggested employers could impose a restrictive covenant regardless of whether the employer could establish a legitimate business interest. Although the majority of Illinois courts disagreed with this approach, they apparently perpetuated a separate error. Namely, they limited the list of legitimate interests an employer could seek to protect. The Illinois Supreme Court has now clarified the standards to be applied, and they are not terribly different than the standards applied in a majority of states.

Please see full article below for more information.

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