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Non-Compete Lawyers in Chicago

Understanding Non-Compete Agreements in Illinois

Our Chicago noncompete lawyers have been leading the fights against unfair restrictive covenants for years in the Illinois courts, the legislature and the media.

In 2023, we submitted comments before the Federal Trade Commission about why non-compete and non-solicitation agreements are inappropriate in the workplace. Click here to read it.

In 2023, the Chicago Tribune published our Op-Ed explaining why non-competes are not appropriate in the workplace. [link to: Op-ed: Eliminating noncompete contracts will empower employees (] The text of the Op-Ed follows:

The Federal Trade Commission has proposed an imminent ban on noncompete contracts. Prohibiting these contracts is an important step toward assuring we still have access to the American Dream. It will help businesses innovate in our tight labor market, ensure workers are not stuck in dead-end jobs and make the United States more competitive with regards to our foreign counterparts.

If you’ve been employed, odds are that at some point you have heard of noncompete contracts, and there is a good chance you may have signed one. Historically, businesses used them with high-level executives to prevent them from taking trade secrets to competitors. However, in the last half century, many businesses have abused noncompete contracts by using them to avoid competition or prevent workers from leaving.

For example, I have defended in court non-English-speaking cleaning people who were sued for having the audacity to switch jobs in violation of their noncompete contracts. The Illinois attorney general once sued Jimmy John’sover its use of noncompete contracts for sandwich-makers. The list of noncompete abuses is long and gut-wrenching and there is no right to a free lawyer when a worker is sued for violating a noncompete contract.

Building upon and invoking existing antitrust law, the FTC proposes that noncompete clauses be barred as an unfair method of competition. The rule also would require employers to rescind any existing noncompete clauses. The evidence examined by the FTC demonstrates that noncompete clauses suppress wages, reduce competition and stifle innovation.

Workers bound by noncompete clauses regularly ask employment lawyers: “I signed a stack of onboarding paperwork on my first day on the job that had a noncompete. It isn’t enforceable, is it?” They are shocked to learn how much it will cost to “get out” of their noncompete contract when they are sued. As a result, few employees ever challenge noncompete contracts and instead reluctantly comply with them while giving up better job opportunities, resulting in less money for them and their families.

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  • Please contact us for a free consultation with one of our intake professionals (this is a screening call, not for legal advice, and we do not provide opinions over the phone) concerning whistleblower, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, overtime, discrimination, non-competes, severance agreements, unpaid wages, pregnancy discrimination, or other matters so that we can see whether our employment lawyers will be able to assist you. Our Chicago, Illinois area employment lawyers love what they do!