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Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37355
Experience:  16 years practicing attorney
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I am currently in the middle of negotiating details of a new job offer that in Illinoi

Customer Question

Hi. I am currently in the middle of negotiating details of a new job offer that in Illinois & looking for help navigating 2 issues:
1) Term of Employment: When I asked what the length of employment is, the recruiter said Illinois is an "at-will" state that no term duration can be outlined. I'm from Texas so I don't know if this really is true. I want a clause that says if employment is terminated by employer at no fault of mine before 1 year I would get a severance package. Is that possible in Illinois?
2) Non-Compete: This new role is with a direct competitor of my current employer. My current agreement is month to month "at-will". I've been here 8 months. There is a non-compete in my agreement, could this hold me back from accepting this new offer?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
1. This is partially true.. If no term is specified, then the employment is "at will" by default and either party can terminate it at any time for any or no reason at all. But there is nothing that would prevent the parties from agreeing on a fixed term employment contract for a definite term. So that part is not true as to their representation that you couldn't request a fixed term contract.
As for severance packages, that is entirely negotiable by the parties.
2. Yes, if your non-compete prohibits you from working for a competitor, that is a legally binding contract that would give them the right to sue you for breach of contract if you violated the non-compete during its duration.
But as for the enforceability of the non-compete, that depends on whether the employer has a legitimate business interest to protect, and whether the restriction is reasonable in geographic scope and duration. As a general rule, courts will enforce a non-compete of 2 years or less. As for geographic restrictions, they must be reasonable considering the employer's business coverage. So something that said you couldn't work state wide would likely be unenforceable. But something that stated within a 20 mile radius may be enforceable.
However, even though the non-compete may have some unenforceable terms, that wouldn't prevent the employer from suing for breach and you from having to defend in court.