The ever-evolving legal landscape of non-competes has been scrutinized quite heavily in the city of Chicago, due to the legal complexities that surround them. While enforcement of non-compete clauses is contingent on many different factors, it is important for employers—as well as their employees—to be aware of the implications in order to ensure that the best decisions are made with regards to observing non-compete provisions.

Non-compete clauses, also referred to as a covenant not to compete, is a document that is used to protect an employer’s confidential information, trade secrets, and other valuable assets from being disclosed and used by a former employee. This agreement between the employer and an employee usually outlines a set of rules that a worker has to abide by after they end their employment with the company. The Chicago labor market has been a hub of activity lately, and with this bustling activity often comes the need for a non-compete clause.

It is important to remember when considering a non-compete that a number of factors should be taken into account. Consequently, it is highly advised that any potential employer seeking to enforce a non-compete clause do so with the assistance of legal counsel that has an in-depth understanding of how such agreements play out in the city of Chicago.

A Non-Compete Clause in Chicago

Non-compete clauses are legally binding agreements in Chicago, and can be enforced in court if challenged. In order for a non-compete clause to be legally binding, it must be reasonable and fairness should be considered. The law and the courts will examine several aspects of non-compete clauses, such as the length of time it covers, the geographic reach, and the scope of the activity for which the clause applies.

In Chicago, a non-compete clause can only refer to specific, tangible items and activities related to an individual’s job position. This means an employer cannot use the clause to unjustly restrict the future job opportunities of their employee by preventing them from working in a similar field in the area.

Enforcement of a Non-Compete

Employers can take legal action against a former employee who fails to abide by a non-compete agreement. This may include claims of tortuous interference or breach of contract. The employer could also seek an injunction against the former employee – which is an order from the court that would limit the ex-employee from having access to confidential information or engaging in the activities mentioned in the non-compete.

Similarly, an employee can file a claim if an employer unreasonably enforces a non-compete clause. In the majority of cases, the employer often lacks evidence to prove that the employee has engaged in activities deemed to be in direct competition with the company. Therefore, in these instances, the courts may not regard the non-compete clause as legally binding.

Finding Education and Support for Legal Matters

Well-informed businesses should take advantage of the legal experience of UpCounsel’s network of experienced lawyers when faced with a non-compete related issue. UpCounsel can provide cost-effective and reliable legal services for businesses of all sizes. With UpCounsel, small businesses can access advice from high quality attorneys on demand and have peace of mind knowing that their business’s best interests are being taken into account.

UpCounsel also offers the ability to review profiles of online attorneys that display client ratings and reviews of recent work. Clients can access experienced business lawyers with an average of 14 years of experience that will provide premier legal counsel to those in the city of Chicago when grappling with non-compete issues.


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