In Illinois, the relationship between an employer and an employee is considered by law to be “at will”. This means that unless the parties have signed a contract, employers can terminate employees at any time with or without “cause”.
If you have been offered an employment or negotiation contract, it is advisable to get an attorney to go through the agreement. In most cases, the employer will engage his lawyer to write the contract. Therefore, the contract is likely to favor the employer.
When you sign a contract prepared by the employer, you are likely to be at a legal disadvantage when problems that can affect your financial stability arise in future. For example, the contract may be vague or one-sided regarding termination of employment.
You should consult with an attorney before signing the employment contract. The lawyer will help you to understand your rights better and can request a review of the contract so that it’s fair and protects your rights.
Some employers may require you to sign non-compete agreements to ensure that you do not compete, to protect their trade secrets, and to maintain their relationships with longtime clients. However, the agreements may also severely restrict your post-employment options. If you signed such an agreement, an employment contract lawyer could help you.
Illinois Freedom to Work Act
In Illinois, “low wage employees” are protected from employers that use punitive non-compete contracts to prevent them from getting new employment in the same field. The protection is provided through the Illinois Freedom to Work Act, which applies to all non-compete contracts signed after January 1, 2017.
Navigating employment Illinois contract law on your own can be difficult. This is why it is critical to work with a competent legal team. The attorneys will help you understand your rights and options. Experienced lawyers may be able to directly or indirectly negotiate with your employer to review the terms of the non-compete so that it does not become unreasonably burdensome for you.
Contact a Chicago HKM employment attorney to discuss your employment situation.