How to Use Non-Compete Agreements to Protect Sensitive Business Information

Non-compete agreements can be an incredibly useful tool to protect sensitive business information in today’s cut-throat business world. In the event that an employment relationship sours, there are often disagreements between employers and former employers regarding the scope and enforceability of a non-compete. At Lubin Austermuehle, our skilled Chicago business litigation attorneys focus on representing clients facing unpleasant litigation that distracts from their ability to run their business.

What is a Non-Compete Agreement?

A non-compete agreement is an agreement that an employer and employee will enter into in order to outline the business information that belongs to the business and cannot travel with the employee once the employment relationship is terminated. Non-competes will often set forth the parameters for future employment of the employee in order to protect sensitive business information and prevent the transfer of trade secrets, customer lists, and other business information.

Will the Court Enforce a Non-Compete Agreement?

The enforceability of a non-compete is the source of much litigation between employers and former employees. Whether a court will enforce the non-compete often hinges on whether there was adequate consideration for the agreement and whether non-compete is reasonable.

In Illinois, there must also be a protectable business interest in order for an employer to be able to enforce a non-compete agreement against a former employee. In other words, the business interest in enforcing the non-complete agreement must be “legitimate.” Until recently, there was much debate about what constituted a legitimate business interest in Illinois, but a recent Illinois Supreme Court decision held that a legitimate business interest extends beyond customer relationships and confidential information, and that a court must consider “the totality of the facts and circumstances of the individual case” when deciding whether to enforce a non-compete agreement. Accordingly, a legitimate business interest could also extent to an employer’s goodwill and reputation as a justifiable means for enforcing the non-compete and protecting its business information.

Is My Non-Compete Agreement Enforceable?

Non-compete agreements are increasingly more common in today’s competitive business environment. Non-compete agreements and other restrictive covenants can be an incredibly useful tool for protecting sensitive information, but only if the agreement is enforceable in a court of law. The issue of enforceability of non-compete agreements is a complex legal question that is the subject of much business litigation. If you are party to a non-compete agreement – whether as an employee or employer – it is helpful to consult with a knowledgeable business litigation attorney like the Chicago business litigation attorneys at Lubin Austermuehle.

Contact our office at 630-333-0333 to schedule an appointment with one of our Illinois commercial litigation attorneys to discuss the enforceability of your non-compete agreement.

Blog Posts Related to This Topic
Client Reviews
"I was referred to Peter Lubin from someone in the car business to handle a law suit. From the moment I made the appointment Peter and his staff were outstanding. This wasn't an easy case, most lawyers had turned me down. However, Peter took the time to meet with me and review everything. He took on the case, and constantly communicated with me about updates and case information. We beat this non-compete agreement case in record time. I would use him again and recommend him to my closest family and friends. 5 stars is not enough to thank him for his service." Sebastian R.
"I worked on two occasions with Peter Lubin and his staff. They took their time with me and discussed each and every item in detail. The group makes you feel like you are part of the family and not just another hourly charge. I recommend Peter to anyone who asks me for a referral. If you are looking for a top notch attorney at a reasonable rate, look no further than Lubin Austermuehle." Kurt A.
"Excellent law firm. My case was a complicated arbitration dispute from another state. Was handled with utmost professionalism and decency. Mr. Peter Lubin was able to successfully resolve the case on my behalf and got me a very favorable settlement. Would recommend to anyone looking for a serious law firm. Great staff and great lawyers!" Albey L.
"I have known Peter Lubin for over 30 years. He has represented me on occasion with sound legal advice. He is a shrewd and tough negotiator leading to positive outcomes and averting prolonged legal hassles in court. He comes from a family with a legal pedigree and deep roots in Chicago's top legal community. You want him on your case. You need him on your opponents case. He won't stop fighting until he wins." Christopher G.
"Peter and his team helped us with an auto fraud case. They communicated well (timely and very responsive), investigated deeply, and negotiated a very good settlement. We were able to resolve our significant issue without a large burden and in a manner that allowed for us to come out ahead. I'd recommend Peter and his team strongly!" R.J. Callahan
"Peter was really nice and helpful when I came to him with an initial question about a non-compete. Would definitely reach out again, recommended to everyone." Johannes B.