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Do I have to sign an employer’s non-compete clause?

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Have a Legal Question?


Perhaps you are working for a Mobile Phone Service and before hiring you, they ask you to sign a non-compete clause on your hiring contract. This may seem strange though it isn’t uncommon. However, there are some critical things to note about non-compete agreements, in particular for those living in the state of Illinois that is unique compared to most other states.

What is a non-compete agreement?

This agreement is a contract stating that you will not begin work as a competing business nor work for a competitor for a particular period of time, often stated in the agreement, after your relationship with your employer finishes or ends. The reason behind this, is to ensure that you won’t share intimate knowledge of how their business works to competitors or be in a position to steal away clients, other workers, and customers by exploiting the knowledge you received during employment with them.

Rule of Reasonableness Test

The Illinois Supreme court, in the 2011 decision Reliable Fire Equip. Co. v. Arredondo, established what it called a “rule of reasonableness test” to determine the enforceability of a restrictive covenant, with the Court providing that a restraint on trade is reasonable only if it:

  1. is no greater than is required to protect a legitimate business interest of the employer;
  2. does not impose undue hardship on the employee; and
  3. is not injurious to the public.

Your Chicago Business and Employment Lawyers

Create legal policies and contracts of integrity for your employees that protect your business’s’ interests by following federal and state employment laws. Avoid mistakes that could put you at risk, and better serve your business and your employees. Contact Goldman & Ehrlich, today at 312-332-6733, or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation.