Starting a new job is often exciting – a new career prospect, new co-workers, and more money, perhaps. It is also stressful – new processes to learn, health coverage to enact lots of documents to sign. One of those documents is the company’s employment agreement. It’s lengthy, full of legalise, and not that important. And since you’re going to be a great success at the new company, who cares what you are binding yourself to, right? Who reads the employment agreement? Did it include a non-compete agreement? Who knows. That only matters if you leave the company and you just got started; why worry about that now?
In reality, it is a statistical unlikelihood that your next job is your last job. So, it does matter what you sign on your first day because agreements like non-competes can significantly impact your future.
Recently, the Illinois legislature has decided to take up the challenge posed by non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, also called Restrictive Covenants. Lawmakers have recently introduced two bills on the subject. While neither are law yet, the first bill seeks to limit restrictive covenants for Illinois workers by requiring certain salary thresholds and/or notice requirements. The second bill would amend the Illinois Freedom to Work Act to prohibit covenants entered into after the bill becomes law.
Illinois is not trailblazing this particular issue. It is simply following trends started in other states. Nevertheless, such laws would significantly impact both employer’s and employers’ rights within Illinois. Stay tuned for more from Springfield.