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Non-Compete Agreements and the Illinois Freedom to Work Act: What Business Owners Need to Know

 Posted on September 15, 2016 in DuPage County Business Law Attorney

Wheaton IL business law attorneysNon-compete agreements, which prohibit employees from engaging in certain acts with their employer's competitors, are going to see some important changes, come 2017. If you are a business owner in Illinois, it is critical that you know what these changes are, how they could affect your business, and what you can do to protect yourself if you should face an issue involving a non-compete agreement. The following information can help.

Illinois Freedom to Work Act

Set to take effect January 1, 2017, the Illinois Freedom to Work act stems from a lawsuit brought against an Illinois sandwich shop food chain by the state's Attorney General. Workers were required to sign a non-compete agreement that restricted them from working with another sandwich shop (or restaurants that served like products) for the duration of their employment and at least two years after. The concern was that these employees, who were generally paid minimum wage, could not reasonably support their families with the restrictions that were imposed by the non-compete agreement.

The new law is designed to prevent such issues among "low wage" employees. They are defined as those who make the greater of:

  • Federal, state, or local minimum wage,
  • A wage that is below $13.00 per hour.

Because the current federal, state, and local minimum wages are lower than $13.00, this amount is currently the operative figure for businesses and their employees. If your employees make below this amount, you will no longer be able to legally impose non-compete agreements on them.

How the Changes Could Affect Your Business

Businesses have seen a lot of legal changes over the last few years. The recent changes to non-compete agreements and a requirement that businesses now give their employees the chance to earn paid leave is just a couple of examples. When you add up all of these changes, they can mean serious trouble for businesses in Illinois. Small businesses may be especially at risk. With more changes likely to surface in the coming years, it has become an era in which all businesses - large and small - need to know where they can turn to for sound legal advice and assistance.

Contact Our Wheaton, IL Business Law Attorneys

At Stock, Carlson & Asso. LLC, we help small and large businesses avoid costly legal mistakes. As dedicated advocates, we also represent them when a dispute arises. We even assist with non-compete agreements, and will continue to do so for those that still qualify.  So, whether you an aggressive advocate in a pending lawsuit, want guidance in creating employee contracts and handbooks, or simply need assistance in setting up your new business, our Wheaton, IL business law attorneys can help. Schedule your consultation and get the seasoned legal assistance you need. Call 630-665-2500 today.


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