A lot of what drives non-compete disputes (and litigation) is the unclear and fluid nature of the law that applies to such agreements. Written agreements are not always enforced according to their letter. Instead, non-compete agreements are measured by standards developed through case decisions. For example, for a non-compete agreement to be enforceable it must be directed at a legitimate and protectable business interest. The uncertainty over what is legitimate and what is protectable often becomes the center of a dispute, which can only be decided by a Court.
A proposed senate bill would change, but not necessarily make better, the above state of the law. Senate Bill 51 would void non-compete agreements that apply to employees eligible for unemployment. A Chicago lawyer, Kenneth J. Vanko, persuasively argues that the bill would not end the battle but move it from the Courts to the Office of Unemployment Appeals, which is already quite crowded.
The bill recently received an unfavorable report from the Senate Finance committee. As such, it is unlikely to become law.
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