Posts tagged Illinois.
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Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2023 update to “Trade Secret Laws: Illinois,” a Q&A guide on trade secrets and confidentiality for private employers in Illinois, co-authored by Peter A. Steinmeyer and David J. Clark, Members of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice.

Following is an excerpt:

This Q&A addresses the state-specific definition of trade secrets and the legal requirements relating to protecting them. Federal, local, or municipal law may impose additional or different requirements.

Download the full Practice ...

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For the last decade, one of the biggest issues in Illinois noncompete law has been what constitutes adequate consideration for a post-employment restrictive covenant, apart from employment lasting at least two years after the agreement was signed.  The “24 month rule” set forth in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., 2013 IL App (1st) 120327 has caused much head-scratching, and the Illinois legislature essentially punted on the issue in the recent amendments to the Illinois Freedom to Work Act, 820 ILCS 90/1, et seq. (effective as of January 1, 2022).  (Full disclosure: One of the authors of this post advised the Illinois Chamber of Commerce in its negotiations with the State legislature over this law and, hence, can speak from personal experience on the legislative history of this “punt.”)

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Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2022 update to “Non-Compete Laws: Illinois,” a Q&A guide to non-compete agreements between employers and employees for private employers in Illinois, co-authored by our colleagues Peter Steinmeyer and David Clark, Members of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice.

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Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2022 update to “Trade Secret Laws: Illinois,” a Q&A guide to state law on trade secrets and confidentiality for private employers, authored by our colleagues Peter Steinmeyer and David Clark at Epstein Becker Green.

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Several states over the past few years have passed legislation prohibiting the use in noncompete agreements (and other employment-related agreements) of out-of-state choice-of-law and forum selection provisions. A few of these states’ laws include enforcement mechanisms with stringent penalties, such as California, which provides for injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees to an aggrieved employee; Washington, which entitles aggrieved employees to actual damages or statutory penalties of $5,000, as well as their attorneys’ fees; and, beginning in August, Colorado, where any violation of that state’s noncompete statute (including the prohibition on out-of-state choice-of-law and forum selection provisions) could lead to civil and criminal penalties.

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Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2021 update to “Non-Compete Laws: Illinois,” a Q&A guide to non-compete agreements between employers and employees, co-authored by our colleagues Peter A. Steinmeyer and David J. Clark.

Following is an excerpt:

This Q&A addresses enforcement and drafting considerations for restrictive covenants such as post-employment covenants not to compete and non-solicitation of customers and employees. Federal, local, or municipal law may impose additional or different requirements.

Download the full Q&A in PDF format.
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In January of this year, our colleagues Janene Marasciullo and David Clark wrote about federal criminal indictments issued for naked wage-fixing and no-poach agreements. They warned that these federal indictments should serve as a cautionary tale for HR and other company executives. The Illinois Attorney General’s office recently reinforced that warning at the state level.

An Illinois court recently denied a motion to dismiss an action by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office–Antitrust Unit against a manufacturing company and three staffing agencies alleging that ...

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Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2020 update to “Non-Compete Laws: Illinois,” a Q&A guide to non-compete agreements between employers and employees for private employers in Illinois, co-authored by our colleagues Peter A. Steinmeyer and David J. Clark at Epstein Becker Green.

This Q&A addresses enforcement and drafting considerations for restrictive covenants such as post-employment covenants not to compete and non-solicitation of customers and employees. Federal, local, or municipal law may impose additional or different requirements.

Click ...

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Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2020 update to “Trade Secret Laws: Illinois,” a Q&A guide to state law on trade secrets and confidentiality for private employers, authored by our colleague David J. Clark at Epstein Becker Green.

The Q&A addresses the state-specific definition of trade secrets and the legal requirements relating to protecting them. Federal, local, or municipal law may impose additional or different requirements. Answers to questions can be compared across several jurisdictions.

Download the full Q&A in PDF format here: Trade Secret ...

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A federal judge in Chicago recently held that an individual can be convicted of attempting to steal a trade secret, even if the information at issue did not actually constitute a trade secret, so long as the individual believed that the information was a trade secret.

In United States of America v. Robert O’Rourke Opinion, Judge Andrea R. Wood denied a post-conviction motion for a new trial in a case involving attempted and actual trade secret theft.  The decision involved a metallurgical engineer and salesperson, Robert O’Rourke, who resigned his employment to take a position as ...

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Peter A. Steinmeyer and David J. Clark, Members of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Chicago and New York offices, respectively, authored a Thomson Reuters Practical Law Q&A guide, "Non-Compete Laws: Illinois."

Following is an excerpt:

A Q&A guide to non-compete agreements between employers and employees for private employers in Illinois. This Q&A addresses enforcement and drafting considerations for restrictive covenants such as post-employment covenants not to compete and non-solicitation of customers and employees ...

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Downtown Chicago Dinner Program

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Repeat Suburban Lunch Program

Join our colleagues Lauri Rasnick, Kevin Ryan, and Peter Steinmeyer for an interactive panel discussion which will provide insights into recent developments and expected trends in the evolving legal landscape of trade secret and non-competition law. This program will also discuss unique issues and developments in the health care and financial services industry. Our colleagues will also be joined by Thomas J. Shanahan, Associate General Counsel at Option Care.

Issues ...

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A federal judge in Chicago recently taught a painful lesson to an Illinois employer: even if information is sufficiently sensitive and valuable that it could qualify as a “trade secret,” it won’t unless the owner of the information took adequate steps to protect its secrecy.

In a thorough opinion issued in the case, Abrasic 90 Inc., d/b/a CGW Camel Grinding Wheels, USA v. Weldcote Metals, Inc., Joseph O’Mera and Colleen Cervencik, U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp, Jr. of the Northern District of Illinois explained that “there are two basic elements to the analysis” of ...

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The Illinois Appellate Court recently declined to adopt a bright line rule regarding the enforceability of five year non-competes or three year non-solicits, and instead directed courts to interpret the reasonableness of any such restrictive covenants on a case-by-case basis.

In Pam’s Acad. of Dance/Forte Arts Ctr. v. Marik, 2018 IL App (3d) 170803, the plaintiff dance company sued a former employee for breaching a non-disclosure agreement and restrictive covenant by allegedly opening a dance studio within 25 miles of plaintiff and soliciting students and teachers by means of ...

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On Monday, attorneys general in eleven states, including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, and Illinois, revealed that they are investigating several prominent fast food franchisors for their potential use of no-poaching or non-compete agreements restricting the ability of low wage workers to obtain a better-paying job with another franchise. To that end, these attorneys general have propounded document and information requests to these restaurants, returnable August 6, 2018.

In the Illinois AG’s press release, Attorney General Madigan stated that ...

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We non-compete lawyers often rely on an old rule of thumb when analyzing the enforceability of a non-compete: if the restriction is so broad that it would even prohibit an employee from working as a janitor for a competitor, then it is very unlikely to be enforced by a judge. And so when a federal judge expressly endorses such a rule of thumb, the urge to blog about it is simply irresistible.

In Medix Staffing Solutions Inc. v. Daniel Dumrauf, Judge Ellis of the Northern District of Illinois addressed the enforceability of a restrictive covenant which prohibited employment in any capacity

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We just published an article with Thomson Reuters Practical Law discussing non-compete agreements between employers and employees for private employers in Illinois. With Thomson Reuters Practical Law's permission, we have attached it here.

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Several states in recent years have enacted laws that have been designed, in varying degrees, to limit non-competes, including California, Illinois, and Nevada. Which states and cities are most likely to do the same in 2018?

The New Hampshire and New York City legislatures have introduced bills that seek to prohibit the use of non-compete agreements with regard to low-wage employees. Under New Hampshire’s Bill (SB 423), a “low-wage employee” is defined as one who earns $15.00 per hour or less.  The New Hampshire Bill was introduced on January 24, 2018 and is scheduled for a ...

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Earlier this week, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued payday loan company Check Into Cash of Illinois, LLC for allegedly requiring that all of its employees in Illinois, regardless of position or pay, sign a standard non-compete agreement which broadly limits their employment mobility for one year post-termination.

According to the Complaint, Check Into Cash’s standard non-compete agreement effectively precludes employment with any entity that offers any “consumer lending service,” regardless of whether the entity is an actual competitor; it applies within ...

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In this age of social media, a frequently asked question is whether social media activity can violate a non-compete or non-solicit.   Although the case law is evolving, courts which have addressed the issue have focused on the content of the communication, rather than the medium used to convey it.  In so doing, they have distinguished between mere passive social media activity (e.g., posting an update about a new job) as opposed to more targeted, active actions (e.g., not merely posting about a new job, but also actively recruiting former co-workers or clients).

A “LinkedIn” case ...

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Featured on Employment Law This Week: An employer cannot waive its own non-compete agreement to avoid payment, unless the agreement specifically grants it the right to do so.

An employee of a financial services firm in Illinois signed an agreement that required a six-month post-employment non-competition period in exchange for $1 million from his employer. When the worker resigned, the employer sent a notice waiving the agreement and telling the employee that it would not pay him the $1 million. After waiting out the six months, the employee filed suit against his former employer ...

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Our colleagues Peter Steinmeyer and Scarlett Freeman of Epstein Becker Green authored an article in Workforce Magazine titled “Courts Take Closer Look at Noncompete Clauses.”

Following is an excerpt:

In the past few years, courts have been re-examining what constitutes adequate consideration for a restrictive covenant. In 2013, the Illinois Court of Appeals held, contrary to longstanding precedent, that in the absence of other considerations, mere employment constitutes adequate consideration for a restrictive covenant only if the employee remains employed for ...

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In a decision issued in late October, AssuredPartners, Inc. et al. v. William Schmitt, 2015 IL  App. (1st) 141863 (Ill. App. 2015),  the Illinois Appellate Court struck down as overbroad and unreasonable, the noncompete, nonsolicit and confidentiality provisions in an employment agreement.  The Court then refused to judicially modify or “blue pencil” these provisions because the Court deemed their deficiencies “too great to permit modification.”  This decision is essentially a primer on current Illinois law regarding restrictive covenants and confidentiality ...

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A couple years ago, the Illinois First District Appellate Court decided the case of Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, 2013 IL App. 120327.  There, the Court held that, absent other consideration, two years of employment are required to constitute adequate consideration for a restrictive covenant, regardless of whether the covenant was signed at the outset of employment or after, and regardless of whether the employee quit or was fired.  Since then, some Judges in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois have applied Fifield, and others have declined ...

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Readers of this blog know that long settled understandings regarding what constitutes adequate consideration for a restrictive covenant in Illinois were turned upside down when the First District Appellate Court in Illinois held in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, 2013 IL App. (1st) 120327  that, absent other consideration, two years of employment are required for a restrictive covenant to be supported by adequate consideration, regardless of whether the covenant was signed at the outset of employment or after, and regardless of whether the employee quit or was fired.

The ...

Blogs
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Last week, Chicago district judge Charles Kocoras dismissed a declaratory judgment action challenging the enforceability of a facially broad form non-compete agreement signed by all employees of the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain.  Judge Kocoras held that the dispute was not judiciable because the plaintiffs lacked the requisite “reasonable apprehension” of litigation against them and because they failed to allege that they had actually engaged in conduct that would violate the non-compete.  (Judge Kocoras’ memorandum opinion also addressed significant joint ...

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Readers of this blog know that in the summer of 2013, long held beliefs about the required consideration for a restrictive covenant under Illinois law were thrown a curve when the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District (i.e., Cook County) held in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., 2013 IL App (1st) 120327, that, absent other consideration, two years of employment is required for a restrictive covenant to be deemed supported by adequate consideration—even where the employee signed the restrictive covenant as a condition to his employment offer and even where the ...

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In determining what is an impermissible “solicitation” by a current employee, the Illinois Appellate Court recently drew a distinction between officers and non-officers. See Xylem Dewatering Solutions, Inc., d/b/a Godwin Pumps of America et al. v. Szablewski et al., Case No. 5-14-0080 (Ill. App. 5th  Dist. 2014).

In Xylem Dewatering Solutions, the defendants were accused by their former employer of wrongfully soliciting customers and suppliers on behalf of a competitive business that they were planning to launch. According to the Appellate Court’s decision, while still ...

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Federal district judges in Chicago are now split over whether to follow the Illinois appellate court's landmark non-compete decision, Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., 373 Ill. Dec. 379, 993 N.E. 2d 938 (Ill. App. 1st Dist. 2013).
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A threshold tactical decision in virtually every non-compete and trade secret case is where to file the suit. This decision is particularly important when a non-compete dispute has a California angle, because non-compete agreements are generally void as against public policy in California.
Blogs
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Judge Ruben Castillo, the Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, recently declined to follow a widely publicized Illinois Appellate Court decision in which the Appellate Court held that, absent other consideration, two years of employment is required consideration for a restrictive covenant in Illinois.
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A federal judge in Chicago recently held that when a corporation enters into a contract with another corporation under which it agrees not to engage in certain competitive activities, that agreement not to compete should not be analyzed like an employer/employee non-compete.
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A recent Seventh Circuit decision underscores the need to re-evaluate the continued prosecution of trade secret misappropriation cases as the facts unfold in discovery.
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In Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., an Illinois Appellate Court recently held that, absent other consideration, two years of employment is required for a restrictive covenant to be deemed supported by adequate consideration - even where the employee signed the restrictive covenant as a condition to his employment offer - and even where the employee voluntarily resigned.
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Lawyers and clients alike often believe that it is easier to enforce a non-solicitation agreement than a non-competition agreement. Sometimes, that's true. However, that does not mean that companies can do so without demonstrating a legitimate business interest in the enforcement of that non-solicitation agreement.
Blogs
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Addressing an argument frequently encountered in restrictive covenant litigation, an Illinois Appellate Court recently reiterated that only a material breach of a contract containing a restrictive covenant will relieve the other party of its contractual obligation to abide by the restrictive covenant
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An updated version of our guide, "Non-Compete Laws: Illinois," is now available. It reflects the recent decision of the Illinois Supreme Court in Reliable Fire Equipment Company v. Arredondo, et al., which resolved several years of confusion over the appropriate standard for enforcing non-compete agreements in Illinois.
Blogs
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On December 1, 2011, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its opinion in Reliable Fire Equipment Company v. Arredondo, et al., which resolved several years of confusion over the appropriate standard for enforcing non-compete agreements in Illinois.
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Several attorneys from the national law firm of EpsteinBeckerGreen contributed to the December 2011 issue of the Practical Law Company's "Labor and Employment."
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The Illinois Supreme Court will soon hear oral argument in a case that could resolve the current confusion with regard to non-compete law among Illinois' appellate districts.
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In October 2009, in Sunbelt Rentals, Inc. v. Ehlers, 333 Ill.Dec. 791, 915 N.E.2d 862 (Ill. App. Ct. 2009), an Illinois appellate court reexamined and rejected over thirty years of well-established precedent regarding the enforceability of restrictive covenants. Specifically, it rejected the "legitimate business interest" test long applied as a threshold issue by Illinois courts when deciding the enforceability of a restrictive covenant. Last week, in Steam Sales Corporation v. Brian Summers, the first Illinois Appellate District other than the Fourth District re-visited the issue of whether the "legitimate business interest" still applied.
Blogs
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When drafting employee confidentiality agreements, there is a tendency to think that no restriction can be too tight. However, a recent decision by the Illinois Appellate Court, The Town of Cicero v. Wayne A. Johnson, held that a confidentiality provision in a separation agreement was so onerous that the entire provision was unenforceable.
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So far, Illinois courts have not followed a 2009 Illinois appellate decision, Sunbelt Rentals, Inc. v. Ehlers, 333 Ill.Dec. 791, 915 N.E.2d 862 (Ill. App. Ct. 2009), which rejected the "legitimate business interest" test long applied as a threshold issue by Illinois courts when deciding the enforceability of a restrictive covenant.
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Peter A. Steinmeyer and Jake Schmidt recently published an updated and expanded guide to drafting enforceable non-competition agreements in Illinois, addressing the Illinois Appellate Court's Sunbelt Rentals decision and the proposed "Illinois Covenants Not to Compete Act."
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States vary widely in their willingness to enforce noncompetition agreements. Illinois, for example, will enforce a noncompetition agreement, but only after fairly rigorous judicial scrutiny. Notwithstanding such scrutiny, Illinois employers can draft enforceable noncompetition agreements.

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