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Can a company prevent former employees from working elsewhere?

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2021 | Blog, Business and Commercial Law

Certain positions within an organization require the disclosure of proprietary information that, if leaked, could potentially harm a company’s future. In situations like these, a non-compete agreement can help protect business interests.

Meanwhile, experience can be extremely valuable. Although employees may have a non-disclosure agreement in place, competitors often seek out workers with the knowledge base and skillsets that could benefit their growth.

However, are non-compete and non-disclosure contracts adequate restrictions?

Certain boundaries may be necessary

Protecting trade secrets is an important factor in prolonged business success. So is recognizing the intrinsic value of your workforce.

Businesses invest significant amounts of time and money into hiring decisions and employee retention, as well as necessary training. So why wouldn’t an entity do everything possible to keep talent in house?

Illinois’ “at-will” employment allows both employers and employees to sever a working relationship. Despite the lack of control over an individual’s choice to leave your organization, you may have the right to limit their options.

Along with non-compete and confidentiality, or non-disclosure, agreements, non-solicitation clauses outline specific restrictions. The enforceability of such contracts depend on terms including:

  • Type of work prohibited;
  • Length of time; and
  • Geographic scope of the restrictions.