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Is Your Non Compete Clause Enforceable?

Is Your Non Compete Clause Enforceable?

A court scene, lake county lawyers

Non compete clauses can be difficult to enforce in Illinois courts. They must meet certain requirements to be considered enforceable. The courts try to balance the interests of the employee and the interests of the employer.

Employee Benefit For Signing

To be valid, the non compete agreement must hold value for the employee. If it is signed in order to gain employment, this is sufficient. If it is signed after the employee is already hired, they must gain something from the agreement. Promotions or new benefits that weren’t in the original employment contract will fulfill this. When it comes to the promise of continued employment, Illinois courts are divided. Some courts have ruled that an employee must have gained two years of employment for this to be sufficient compensation. Others however, have ruled that lesser amounts of time also meet the requirement, especially if the employee resigned from the position. Given that the law is unsettled, it is important to talk to lake county lawyers before entering into a non compete agreement.

Protecting Business Interests

The non compete clause may be used to protect the confidential information of the employer. It must be shown that the employer made reasonable efforts to keep the information confidential, and that the information gives the employer a business advantage. It may also be used to keep a former employee from competing with the original employer.


The employer must also show that the duration and scope of the agreement are reasonable. The duration of the clause should only be for the amount of time the information has value to the employer. Scope refers to the geographic area that the clause refers to. Courts will generally not enforce the agreement if the former employee will be doing business in a geographic area where the original employer does not.

Modifying Agreement

The courts have the option of modifying the duration and scope of a non compete agreement if they feel that the employer was being unreasonable. They also have the option to not enforce it at all if they feel that the employer was trying to use the agreement to prevent legitimate business competition.

Balancing Rights of Employer and Employee

Non compete agreements should balance the rights of the employer to protect their business interests with the need of the employee to make a living.

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