Peter Steinmeyer, a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice and Managing Shareholder of the firm's Chicago office, was quoted in an article titled "Overzealous Use of Noncompetes Could Cost Employers." (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

The proliferation of noncompete agreements in jobs where restrictive covenants haven't historically been used may backfire on employers by making judges more reluctant to enforce noncompetes and spurring legislative efforts to ban the agreements, lawyers say. …

Epstein Becker Green's Peter Steinmeyer also said employers have pushed the envelope with noncompete pacts. If a company wants to have a noncompete agreement enforced, it needs to identify a legitimate business interest it needs to protect, he said, adding that simply forcing every worker a company employs to sign a noncompete isn't the way to go.

"There are situations where I see them, where I think it's been inappropriate," he said of noncompete agreements. …

"A noncompete agreement is the one that the court will look at with the closest scrutiny," Steinmeyer said. …

But while critics of noncompete agreements may feel that the whole country should be more like California — which generally doesn't allow noncompete agreements and is home to the technology mecca of Silicon Valley — there is already an existing check on such agreements, even where employers have broad license to use them, said Steinmeyer.

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