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At-Will Employees in Illinois Must Be Employed for Two Years for Non-Competes to be Enforceable

The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District recently found in the case of Fifield v. Premier Dealer Servs., Inc., that an employee must work for the employer for at least two years in order for a non-compete agreement to be enforceable, even if the employee resigns on his own instead of being terminated. Illinois courts have repeatedly held that there must be two years or more of continued employment to constitute adequate consideration in support of a restrictive covenant. The court in Fifield found that this requirement applies even when the employee voluntarily resigned and he signed the restrictive covenant prior to his employment beginning. In so doing, the court explicitly rejected the company’s argument that the plaintiff’s employment was the consideration he received in exchange for signing the nonsolicitation and noncompetition provisions.