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Arlington Heights business law attorneyWhen you own business that operates in a highly competitive industry, it is understandable that you would want to protect your investments, including your time, money, and efforts. If you rely on proprietary systems or recipes, you may require your employees to sign non-disclosure agreements which contractually forbids them from sharing your secrets. Similarly, if you employ a team of skilled employees, you may want to protect that investment as well by using non-compete agreements. According to the law in Illinois, non-competes may be an option, but only if your employees’ wages also represent how much you value your workers.

New Limitations

The Illinois Freedom to Work Act was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner last August and went into effect on January 1, 2017. The Act prohibits the use of non-compete agreements for employees who make less than $13 per hour. The measure was prompted, in large part, by complaints from employees of the sandwich chain Jimmy Johns. Workers at the Illinois-based chain were routinely required to sign non-compete agreements that prevented them from working for another sub shop during their employment with Jimmy Johns—and two more years after that!


Arlington Heights business law attorneys, non-compete employee contractsAs the world changed its calendars, Illinois enacted several new laws. Some apply to business owners and their employees. Among them is the change to the non-compete agreements. Now limited in their use, failure to adhere to the new guidelines could place your business at risk for litigation. Learn what these new limitations are, how they might apply to your business, and what you can do to ensure you are compliant.

Non-competes and Low-Wage Employees

Last year, a sandwich restaurant food chain made headlines because of their non-compete agreements. Their employees, who made only minimum wage, were restricted from working at any other establishment that made its primary income from sandwiches. Signed upon their hire, these agreements lasted for at least two years after an employee’s quit or termination date. Ultimately, a lawsuit was brought against the company and they had to pay out a settlement, which is allegedly going to create outreach and education programs to improve better practices by employers throughout the state.

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