Non-compete agreements (sometimes called restrictive covenants) have bedeviled businesses and the legal system as long as anyone can remember. No business owner wants to train an employee to be a great salesman or a brilliant plant supervisor, only to have that person leave to compete by calling on the same customers or opening up their own business. On the other hand, no employee wants to limit his or her future opportunities by being tied forever to a job in which he or she is underpaid and under appreciated.
The Illinois Supreme Court recently changed the rules regarding noncompete agreements. As a result, whenever there is a dispute about a noncompete agreement, the scope of the inquiry will be expansive enough to include an evaluation of the "totality of the facts and circumstances of the individual case."