If an Illinois employer drafts a post-employment restrictive covenant that is impermissibly overbroad, it cannot expect a court to modify it and enforce it, as a recent Third District appellate case illustrated.
Brian S. joined Deere Employees Credit Union (DECU) in 2009 as an investment advisor at its main branch in Moline, Illinois. His employment contract prohibited him from soliciting DECU’s clients or members for a two-year period following his termination. Brian resigned from DECU in 2015 and began working for a different financial services provider. He sent letters to up to 250 of his former DECU clients notifying them of his new situation.
DECU sued Brian for breach of the nonsolicitation covenants, seeking a preliminary injunction barring him from further contact with its members. Brian acknowledged his current clients included up to 17 DECU members, but argued the contract was unnecessarily broad, unenforceable as a matter of law, and could not be used to grant injunctive relief. The trial court found the covenants overly broad and unenforceable as written, but partly granted DECU’s request for injunctive relief by modifying the contract language and enjoining Smith’s contact with only those members he served while employed at DECU. Continue reading ›