UPDATE TO ILLINOIS LAW--As of January 1, 2022 an employer can no longer force an employee to sign a non-complete agreement if the employee is making less than $75,000 per year. This will affect many employees and they should be aware of their new right.
So many employees are not fully aware of their rights in the workplace in Illinois. For example, many companies will ask an employee to sign an agreement prohibiting them from getting hired by competitors. This also occurs when an employee is terminated and the company wishes for him/her to sign a non-compete agreement. And many companies work with other companies whereby they both agree to not hire each other workers. This keeps the salaries of employees down, which benefits the employer.
Here is an update on why that is a problem for the employer and why this new development is good news for employees. On July 9, 2021 President Biden signed an executive action directing the Department of Justice ("DOJ") and Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") to vigorously enforce the anti-trust laws in our country. What does this mean for the average worker? No longer can a company do as they wish regarding employees terms of condition. On July 15, 2021, a federal grand jury in Colorado issued a two-count indictment alleging a company and its former CEO were conspiring with competing employers not to solicit certain employees-which is a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The government can charge both civilly and criminally in these types of cases. Additionally, the individual who is harmed have his or her own cause of action and my office can help you with that. That means you have a private cause of action on top of what the DOJ or FTC do.
Under this new executive order companies are prohibited from entering into agreements about employee hiring, compensation, or other terms or conditions of employment. My guess is many companies are not aware of this new executive order and are not following it. As an employee you now have more rights and you can utilize an attorney to help you exercise those new rights.
My office can help negotiate a severance agreement for you with your company or former company. Don’t take the initial offer a company gives you. Now there are no guarantees that the company will increase their offer through negotiations. However, there generally is no harm in trying to increase the amount of the severance, as the initial offer will still be on the table.
The key to a successful severance negotiation is leverage. The more you have the better the terms is a general rule. Additionally, hiring an attorney who litigates cases and has a reputation for litigation will generally help increase the amount you get. The last thing a company wants is to have a long drawn out legal procedure. That will cost the company time and money and if they lose, more money and public embarrassment. Sometimes we may have to file an action at the IDHR or EEOC in order to put more leverage on the company. In those instances, I have a great deal of experience before both agencies.
My office can also help businesses, small and large with agreement of all types. Whether it is an employment agreement, relationship agreement, non-compete, technology, commercial, severance or business purchase. As a former corporate attorney with Caterpillar Inc., I have extensive experience working on all types of agreement. The money saved by having an attorney shave of the amount a company pays more than pays for the legal fees in many cases. I have successfully defended companies at the IDHR and EEOC.
Because of Covid-19, the job structure in our society has changed. Employees are exercising their rights more and are a more mobile workforce. They are demanding change and employers are facing a new employment structure. It is imperative that companies change how they treat employees and make sure they are current on what they law requires. In Illinois this also includes the mandatory sexual harassment training which companies are now required to undergo yearly. My office can help with that too.
So whether you are an employee or employer, contact my office for a free consultation regarding your rights and any legal issues you may have. 312-505-5038 Peter