Sometimes employees are asked to sign employee non-compete agreements as a condition for their continued employment with their company. Following a lawsuit brought by the Illinois Attorney General against Jimmy John’s sandwich chain, non-competition agreements preventing low-wage earners from working for a competitor are no longer legal.
In general, a non-compete agreement (or restrictive covenant), seeks to limit employees who have left their company from working in a similar industry, within a specified geographic area, for a period of time.
Effective January 1, 2017, the Illinois Freedom to Work Act, will prohibit private employers from requiring low wage earners to sign non-compete agreements. Those earning up to $13.00 an hour will be exempt.
Take note, however, the Act does not affect an employer’s right to safeguard confidential information and trade secrets, regardless of wage.
If you have been asked by your employer to sign a non-compete agreement or if you are in violation of one from a previous employer, contact the employment law offices of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson, PC for help.
Source: National Law Review, “Illinois Prohibits Non-Compete Agreements with Low-Wage Employees”, August 29, 2016.