Q: Signed non-compete in IL, that I must give 10-day notice & name of my next employer before quitting. Do I have to do so?
I signed a con-compete in Illinois that reads "If for any reason I decide to voluntarily resign from the Company, I acknowledge that the Company requests that I provide at least 10 business days written notice of my intent to leave, the date I want to leave, and (as soon as I know it) the name of my next employer, with a description of what my expected position will be. I agree that the Company may contact my new employer regarding my obligations under this agreement. This Agreement does not constitute a commitment for any definite period of employment and my employment at all times is and will continue to be for an unspecified duration and constitute "at will" employment." Do I have to give them 10 days of notice, and tell them where I'm going, or am I still covered by Employment at Will in Illinois.
A: Your question is missing some important information. Having said that, non-competes are not enforceable in Illinois unless they are reasonable under the circumstances. I do not believe that an Illinois court would find the requirement to disclose a new employer as being unreasonable. I suspect that there are additional restrictions in your agreement relating to whether or not you can actually work for this new employer, but those terms aren't stated in your question. There is also the matter of income limits. Effective in 2022, Illinois law provides that an employer may not enter into a non-compete with an employee earning less than $75,000.00. Again, the question does not identify this information, but if you are not a highly compensated employee, then that becomes another consideration. Good luck.
A: I strongly encourage you to have the entire agreement reviewed by a lawyer experienced in employment law to determine how the quoted material stands in relation to the rest of the agreement. It is important that you understand I'm assuming everything within the quotation marks of your question is word-for-word from the non-compete agreement. If it is not a direct quotation, or if there are other provisions in the non-compete agreement which contradict any portion of the material you quote, then disregard everything following this sentence. The quoted material merely states that the employer "requests" that you take certain action. Unless some other part of the agreement makes it mandatory, it remains merely a request, not a condition of your employment, and it can be ignored. This opinion is reinforced by the language you quote stating your employment "at all times is and will continue to be for an unspecified duration and constitute 'at will' employment." Relying on that language, you are an at-will employee. An at-will employee can quit his job at any time for any reason, or for no reason at all. No explanation to the employer is required, nor are you obligated to provide your current employer the name of your next employer.
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