Are employment agreements enforceable?

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Are employment agreements enforceable?

I was forced to sign an employment agreement with my former employer 6 years after I was hired. I left the company in January of this year. I’m a production manager and a former employee came to me looking for work. Is the employment agreement valid and can my former employer keep me from hiring this person?

Asked on May 2, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Yes, an agrement to not hire other or former employers from your former employer (commonly called a "non-solicitation agreement" or a "non-solicitation clause" in a larger agreement) is 100% enforceable if you quit or resigned. So if you left the job voluntarily, you cannot hire this former employee if the agreement says you can't; if you violate it, you can be sued.
That you signed the agreement 6 years after hiring is irrelevant; you can be required to sign an agreement at any time during employment.
Typically, however, if you were laid off, downsized, or fired other than for cause (i.e. not fired for doing something obviously improper, like stealing from the company, violating company policy or manager instructions in a flagrant way, etc.) the agreement cannot be enforced against you, since in that case, the company took away the thing--employment--it was offering you in exchange for the agreement.


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