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Non-Compete Agreements — What Illinois Courts Have Said

Question: After a year at my current company, I’ve decided to join a rival firm. The only problem is, I signed a non-compete agreement. If my current employer decides to sue, what are the chances he’ll win in court? Answer: Time is on your side. In a recent decision, an Appellate Court ruled unanimously that Illinois companies, which require newly-hired employees to sign a non-compete agreement, cannot block an employee who has worked at the company for less than two years from going to work for a rival. It doesn’t matter whether they quit or are fired. The one exception may be if the employee got something in return for signing the agreement, such as a bonus or additional compensation. A lawyer can review your specific non-compete agreement and provide counsel.     For more information about Illinois law, visit  If you have a legal question, send it to Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit