Generally, a covenant not to compete is when a Illinois employee agrees not to work for an employer's competitors when the employee leaves the company. Covenants not to compete are also known as "non-compete clauses". Compensation may be paid for employees who sign the covenant, or at times the employment may be conditioned upon such an agreement.

When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?

Foreseeing whether or not a judge will uphold a covenant not to compete is generally difficult. While the employer?s interests are important, Illinois courts place great importance on an individual?s freedom to pursue the employment they want. Accordingly, courts have only upheld those agreements that they consider reasonable under the circumstances. A court will usually hold non-compete clauses to be unreasonable if they involve unusually long periods of time or if they cover a geographic region surrounding Charleston that is excessively large.

Non-compete clauses are also limited in that they can only apply to competitors who are reasonably related to the industry of the employer. Finally, an employer is required to have a valid business reason in its motivation for imposing a covenant not to compete on an employee.

Do I Need an Attorney when Dealing with a Covenant not to Compete?

Since covenants could restrict your rights, you may wish to hire a Charleston, Illinois lawyer to review any documents. They will be able to negotiate further changes to the covenant, and can draft an entirely new one that is acceptable to all parties if needed. Employers can receive useful advice from an attorney should they decide to sue a worker for breaching a covenant, and employees who have signed such covenants can also benefit from a lawyer's counseling.