Tag Archives: Non-competes Illinois

Non-Competes in Illinois After Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services

By Theresa Bresnahan-Coleman on June 19, 2014 | Posted in Blog

In light of a recent decision by the Illinois First District Appellate Court, Illinois employers should support their non-competition agreements with consideration that goes beyond merely the fact of employment. Exactly what consideration will suffice as adequate consideration to support enforceability of the restrictive covenant, however, is not entirely clear in the wake of the appellate court’s decision. What is clear is that in the First District – that is, Cook County – Illinois state courts will not enforce non-competes unless the employee worked for the employer for at least two years or if the employer offered some other valuable consideration that is tied specifically to the non-compete.

Previously, Illinois employers could argue that the fact of employment for a certain “substantial” period of time constituted adequate consideration to support a non-competition agreement. In Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., however, the First District Appellate Court held that two years of employment constitutes adequate consideration to enforce a non-compete, no matter if the employee signed the restrictive covenant as a condition to her employment offer or if the employee voluntarily resigns herSignature-Sebastien Wiertz position. Any employment length shorter than two years is not adequate consideration, unless some other consideration was provided to the employee. The court did not, however, offer any guidance for what constitutes adequate “other” consideration for a non-compete when an individual’s employment terminates before that individual has worked for at least two years. Rather, the Fifield court merely held that the non-compete entered into between the plaintiff and the defendant in that case was not enforceable where the plaintiff resigned his position with the defendant after three-and-a-half months and where the defendant did not offer any other consideration to the plaintiff at the beginning of his employment. So, in the wake of Fifield, employers in the First District seeking to enforce non-competes likely can only do so on the basis of substantial employment if the former employee worked for the employer for at least two years. If the employee worked for less than two years before parting ways with her employer, the non-compete may only be enforceable against her if her employer offered her some other, additional consideration at the outset of her employment. Read More…

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