Articles Posted in Non-Compete Agreement / Covenant Not to Compete

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Our Chicago non-compete agreement attorneys have defended high level executives in covenant not to compete and trade secret lawsuits. A case in which our firm defended a former Motorola executive was covered in Crain’s Chicago business. You can view that article by clicking here.

DiTommaso-Lubin a firm of Chicago business dispute lawyers handles litigation over non-compete clauses for individuals and businesses of all sizes, including small or closely held businesses for whom competition from an ex-employee can be a serious threat. Our Chicago business lawyers with offices near Oak Lawn, Arlington Heights, Oak Brook and Chicago have substantial experience in restrictive covenant and breach of contract cases, and we are proud of our record of strong results. We have successfully represented a number of doctors in non-compete, partnership and other business disputes.  We understand the complexities of physician partnership and non-compete agreements.

Published on:

Our Chicago non-compete agreement attorneys have defended high level executives in covenant not to compete and trade secret lawsuits. A case in which our firm defended a former Motorola executive was covered in Crain’s Chicago business. You can view that article by clicking here.

DiTommaso-Lubin a firm of Chicago business dispute lawyers handles litigation over non-compete clauses for individuals and businesses of all sizes, including small or closely held businesses for whom competition from an ex-employee can be a serious threat. Our Chicago business lawyers with offices near Oak Lawn, Arlington Heights, Oak Brook and Chicago have substantial experience in restrictive covenant and breach of contract cases, and we are proud of our record of strong results. We have successfully represented a number of doctors in non-compete, partnership and other business disputes.  We understand the complexities of physician partnership and non-compete agreements.

Published on:

Our Chicago non-compete agreement attorneys have defended high level executives in covenant not to compete and trade secret lawsuits. A case in which our firm defended a former Motorola executive was covered in Crain’s Chicago business. You can view that article by clicking here.

DiTommaso-Lubin a firm of Chicago business dispute lawyers handles litigation over non-compete clauses for individuals and businesses of all sizes, including small or closely held businesses for whom competition from an ex-employee can be a serious threat. Our Chicago business lawyers with offices near Oak Lawn, Arlington Heights, Oak Brook and Chicago have substantial experience in restrictive covenant and breach of contract cases, and we are proud of our record of strong results. We have successfully represented a number of doctors in non-compete, partnership and other business disputes.  We understand the complexities of physician partnership and non-compete agreements.

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When employees separate from their employer, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, their first instinct is often to get electronic files and documents out of company possession and into their possession as fast as they can. Often these files are of a personal nature, but when they relate to the person’s employment, they may be protected by any employment agreement the employee signed.

Thus, former Angie’s List employees according to Angie’s List allegedly violated confidentiality and nonsolicitation agreements when they emailed company information to themselves and texted coworkers about joining them at a competing company. An Indiana appellate court recently overturned a trial court ruling that had denied Angie’s List’s requested injunctions against the two ex-employees (Angie’s List, Inc. v. Myers, et. al, 2016 WL 7493406 (Ind. App. Ct.)).

Rick M. and Maggie L. were sales representatives for Angie’s List. They had signed employment agreements promising to return any proprietary information and not to solicit company employees for one year after their employment ended with the business review website. Maggie was allowed to use her home computer and email as part of her job. They informed the company separately in December 2015 that they were leaving to work for competitor HomeAdvisor, then proceeded to email documents from their office computers to their personal email accounts. Maggie claimed her office computer contained personal information, but later admitted that the emailed material included a list of Angie’s List salespersons. Continue reading

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In the age of electronic communication, a recent case in the eastern district of Wisconsin serves as a cautionary tale for employees who accept employment offers with a mouse click. They should be aware that they could be agreeing to noncompete covenants with that click.

In BMO Harris Bank NA v. Elizabeth Lailer and Robert W. Baird & Co. (2016 WL 6155997), BMO won a preliminary injunction against a former employee it claims was taking its clients and harming its reputation in violation of an electronic employment agreement.

Elizabeth L. worked in the Brookfield, Wisconsin, branch of BMO Bank, serving the bank’s high-net worth clientele.  In December 2015, she was offered a new position as “private wealth advisor” and vice president at the bank. She claimed she accepted the transfer without seeing or being made aware of an offer letter or any terms therein. However, BMO produced evidence that Elizabeth had received an emailed offer and had followed steps on the company’s online portal to accept the position. The offer letter, which contained nonsolicitation, confidentiality and trade secret provisions, appeared in the “attachments” portion of the acceptance portal. It also required her to return all company property upon termination, including client information. Continue reading

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The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. It also requires employers to pay their workers one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all the overtime they spend working. Some employers maintain agreements with their workers in which, instead of additional wages, the workers are compensated in the form of extra paid time off, which is not always legal.

Most employers are required to compensate their workers for overtime by paying them the premium overtime rate, but there are exceptions to that rule. For example, government employees can legally receive overtime compensation in the form of one and one-half hours of paid time off for every hour of overtime they work. But there is a limit of a total of 480 overtime hours that are eligible for this method of compensation, and once that limit has been reached, the employees must be compensated in the form of additional wages.

According to an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Puerto Rico Police Department was using paid time off to compensate police officers for the overtime they worked, but the department did not pay overtime wages when officers worked more than 480 hours of overtime.

The DOL’s investigation further found the police department had not compensated former police officers for the compensatory time they had built up by the time their employment was terminated. They also did not pay canine officers for the time they spent taking care of dogs for the police department, and did not pay academy cadets the proper compensation for the overtime hours they worked performing activities that were required by the department. Continue reading

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Non-compete agreements were initially included in employment contracts with high-level executives at tech companies, but in recent years employers have increasingly been including them in their contracts with almost all their workers.

Non-compete agreements were designed to protect the company’s legitimate business interests by preventing executives with trade secrets and/or valuable relationships with customers from taking those resources to a competitor across the street. However, in an attempt to make their employment contracts air tight, some employers have gotten a little carried away and created non-compete agreements that make it unreasonably difficult for their workers to find any other form of employment at all.

Despite the increased propensity for and strictness of these agreements, many companies don’t bother to enforce them when their lower-level workers start working for a competitor in another region. But when an employer does try to enforce what might be considered an overly restrictive non-compete agreement, workers have been known to fight back, arguing that the agreement is too strict to be legally enforceable. Continue reading

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Non-compete agreements were originally created as a way for businesses to prevent competitors from poaching their employees. If a high-level executive who knows a lot about the company’s trade secrets and/or has established valuable relationships with clients takes those assets to a competitor working just around the corner, the result could be disastrous for the worker’s former employer.

In order to prevent that from happening, most employers include non-compete agreements in almost all their employment contracts. These agreements usually specify a geographical area in which the employee cannot work for a competitor in a given time frame (usually six months to a year).

Although non-compete agreements can be an effective way for companies to protect their legitimate business interests, some companies have become overzealous in their attempts to hold on to their workers and have included non-compete agreements in all their employment contracts, even with their lowest-paid employees. Continue reading

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When someone makes a promise, many people will ask them to “put it in writing” as a way to make sure they follow through. These written documents then form contracts that can be upheld in court if necessary, but the courts don’t always agree to uphold a contract. Just because it was signed and agreed upon by both parties at one point in time does not necessarily make a contract legally binding.

One promise that employers are having an increasingly difficult time enforcing is the noncompete agreement. It’s an agreement included in an employment contract in which both the employer and the worker agree that the employee will not work for a competitor. Noncompete agreements were originally designed to protect the vested interest employers have in their high-level executives – the ones who are most likely to have access to sensitive information, trade secrets, and important relationships with clients. For these kinds of employees to leave with all that business and work for a competitor across the street could be disastrous for a company.

But in their efforts to make iron-clad noncompete agreements, employers sometimes overstretch and include requirements that make it unreasonably difficult for the employee to find any work at all after their employment ends. Continue reading

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A recent trade secrets case in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois may make individuals think twice before they attempt to recruit a proxy to get around a noncompete clause. (Orthofix Inc. v. Melissa Gordon (2016 WL 1170896))

Medical device company Orthofix Inc. sued former sales representative Melissa G. for violating the non-solicitation, unfair competition, and nondisclosure provisions of her employment contract; appropriating trade secrets in violation of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act (ITSA); and tortious interference with its business relations.

Orthofix sells “bone growth stimulators,” which purportedly promote the healing of broken bones, to physicians. Melissa worked for Orthofix from 2007 until March 2013. Melissa’s sales territory was central Illinois, later expanding to Chicago, and her job involved keeping detailed notes on physician clients. Upon hire, she signed an agreement promising not to do business with Orthofix customers or compete with the company for one year following separation, nor disclose its trade secrets or confidential information. Continue reading