Recent Blog Posts
- Alleged Inconsistent Enforcement of Non-Compete Agreements Raised in Discrimination Case Employers sometimes ask whether it matters if they are inconsistent in their enforcement of non-competes. Typically, the issue is analyzed in terms of whether inconsistent enforcement undercuts the legitimate business interest justifying the restriction. However, in a pending lawsuit, Miller v. Canadian National Railway Co., the issue is being raised in a different context: whether alleged inconsistent enforcement was racially motivated. Specifically, the plaintiff in that case alleges that “[b]y enforcing the non-compete against Miller and not against similarly situated... More
- Even If “Secret,” Information Will Not Qualify As a “Trade Secret” Unless Adequate Measures Were Taken To Protect That Secrecy A federal judge in Chicago recently taught a painful lesson to an Illinois employer: even if information is sufficiently sensitive and valuable that it could qualify as a “trade secret,” it won’t unless the owner of the information took adequate steps to protect its secrecy.
In a thorough opinion issued in the case, Abrasic 90 Inc., d/b/a CGW Camel Grinding Wheels, USA v. Weldcote Metals, Inc., Joseph O’Mera and Colleen Cervencik, U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp, Jr. of the Northern... More
- Illinois Appellate Court Declines to Adopt Bright Line Rule That a Five Year Non-Compete Or a Three Year Non-Solicit Are Unenforceable Per Se The Illinois Appellate Court recently declined to adopt a bright line rule regarding the enforceability of five year non-competes or three year non-solicits, and instead directed courts to interpret the reasonableness of any such restrictive covenants on a case-by-case basis.
In Pam’s Acad. of Dance/Forte Arts Ctr. v. Marik, 2018 IL App (3d) 170803, the plaintiff dance company sued a former employee for breaching a non-disclosure agreement and restrictive covenant by allegedly opening a dance studio within 25 miles of plaintiff... More
- Massachusetts Becomes 49th State to Adopt Uniform Trade Secrets Act Effective as of October 1, 2018, Massachusetts will become the 49th state to adopt a version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (leaving New York as the only holdout). Massachusetts did so as part of a large budget bill recently signed into law, which also resulted in the adoption of the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act. (The text of the Massachusetts version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act is set out on pages 47-52 of the bill, H. 4868, while the... More
- Garden Leave Provisions in Employment Agreements Published with Thomson Reuters Practical Law We just published an article with Thomson Reuters Practical Law discussing garden leave provisions in employment agreements as an alternative or a companion to traditional employee non-compete agreements. With Thomson Reuters Practical Law’s permission, we have attached it here.... More
- 7th Circuit Shows Zero Tolerance for Dishonesty or Disrespect in Recent Trade Secrets Case Following what it described as a three year “one-man legal circus,” a Seventh Circuit panel recently affirmed a sanction award of over $440,000 in a trade secret misappropriation case, after finding that the defendant, Raj Shekar, “demonstrated nothing but disrespect, deceit, and flat-out hostility[.]” Teledyne Technologies Incorporated v. Raj Shekar, No. 17-2171, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17153, at *13 (7th Cir. June 25, 2018).
Shekar worked at Teledyne Technologies as a marketing and sales manager from June 2013 until he was... More
- “Janitor Problem” Sinks Illinois Non-Compete We non-compete lawyers often rely on an old rule of thumb when analyzing the enforceability of a non-compete: if the restriction is so broad that it would even prohibit an employee from working as a janitor for a competitor, then it is very unlikely to be enforced by a judge. And so when a federal judge expressly endorses such a rule of thumb, the urge to blog about it is simply irresistible.
In Medix Staffing Solutions Inc. v. Daniel Dumrauf, Judge... More
- Non-Compete Laws: Illinois Guide Published with Thomson Reuters Practical Law We just published an article with Thomson Reuters Practical Law discussing non-compete agreements between employers and employees for private employers in Illinois. With Thomson Reuters Practical Law’s permission, we have attached it here.... More
- Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down Co-Worker Non-Solicitation Clause Of the various types of post-employment restrictions imposed on employees, a restriction on the recruitment of former co-workers (sometimes referred to as a “no-poach” or “anti-raiding” clause) is the type most likely to be enforced by a court. As a result, this is one type of post-employment restriction that is frequently drafted without the careful thought generally put in to traditional non-competes and client non-solicitation clauses. But in what could be a foreshadowing of closer judicial scrutiny of co-worker non-solicitation... More
- Another Chapter in the Battle Against Non-Competes for Low Wage Workers in Illinois Earlier this week, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued payday loan company Check Into Cash of Illinois, LLC for allegedly requiring that all of its employees in Illinois, regardless of position or pay, sign a standard non-compete agreement which broadly limits their employment mobility for one year post-termination.
According to the Complaint, Check Into Cash’s standard non-compete agreement effectively precludes employment with any entity that offers any “consumer lending service,” regardless of whether the entity is an actual competitor; it applies... More