While most small businesses are only interested in making ends meet, there are large corporations and franchises out there, trying to take advantage of blue-collar workers. Sadly, when employees are paid low wages and asked to fill out a non-compete agreement, they may find themselves stuck, with no way out.
That is why Illinois now has a law on non-compete agreements; two companies have been sued in the past year for violating it. Learn more about this law and what it could mean for your company, and discover how an experienced business law attorney can help you avoid legal problems over improper use of non-compete agreements.
Understanding the Purpose of a Non-Compete Agreement
Non-compete agreements are not meant to keep wages low or violate an employee's rights. Instead, they are supposed to ensure that a company's reputation and trade secrets are protected from its competitors. That is not to say that low-wage paying companies are lacking in trade secrets or that their reputation should not be protected, yet by forcing low-wage employees to sign non-compete agreements, they are protecting their company in a way that is detrimental to the employee. In a country where wages have become stagnant, unfair treatment of low-wage employees is an offense that Illinois is no longer willing to overlook.
Protecting Your Company with a Non-Compete Agreement
If you pay your employees at least $13 per hour, the state will permit you to use a non-compete agreement to protect your company's reputation and/or trade secrets. However, it is critical that you understand the risks associated with developing such an agreement without proper legal assistance. Verbiage, particularly when it comes to issues that might be considered a violation of the employee's rights, must be carefully thought out and well-versed. There are also certain elements that cannot be added to a non-compete agreement. Ensure you do not make a costly mistake by hiring an experienced attorney to draft your non-compete agreement.
Contact Our DuPage County Small Business Attorneys
At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we understand the challenges that small businesses face in today's competitive market. Dedicated and experienced, our DuPage County small business attorneys can listen to the goals and concerns you have about trade secrets and potential market competitors. Provided it is warranted, we can also help you draft a non-compete agreement to protect your company's financial future. Learn more by scheduling a personalized consultation. Call 630-665-2500 today.