Non-competition agreements (“non-competes”) have long been viewed as viable means for Chicago area business owners to prohibit former employees from taking confidential information and using it to unfairly compete against the business. Non-competes are actually prohibited in some states, but not Illinois.
Illinois allows the use of non-competes with some limitations. Illinois employers are allowed to use non-competes provided they reasonably protect the employer’s legitimate business interests. What this means has been left to the courts, and there has been a steady erosion of the effectiveness of non-competes by limiting the scope of those agreements.
Illinois has passed several laws recently which limit the effectiveness of employee non-competes and which should be of concern to Chicago area business owners: