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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
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October 25, 2016

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN COMMENDS WHITE HOUSE FOR WORKING TO ELMINATE RESTRICTIVE NON-COMPETE AGREEMENTS

Madigan Leading Investigations of Several Illinois Employers Over Improper Non-Competes That Unfairly Prevent Workers from Seeking Better Job Opportunities

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today commended the White House for its push to eliminate improper, restrictive non-compete agreements that unfairly hinder the country’s lower wage workers by attempting to ban them from getting a better job or starting their own company for years after leaving a job. Madigan supports the White House’s State Call to Action on Non-Competes issued today, which urges states to adopt a series of common-sense legislative proposals to address the overuse of non-compete and other restrictive agreements.

In June 2016, Madigan filed a lawsuit against Jimmy John’s for imposing highly restrictive non-compete agreements on its employees, including low-wage sandwich shop employees and delivery drivers. Madigan is also investigating the inappropriate use of non-compete agreements by other Illinois employers.

Madigan’s Workplace Rights Bureau will also be hosting a symposium on Nov. 17 on Emerging Legal Issues in the Workplace to discuss academic, business and government perspectives on non-competes and other workplace issues.

“I applaud the White House for shining a light on non-compete agreements and how they can unfairly impact the lives of lower wage workers,” Madigan said. “We need to ensure that employees around the country have the ability to change jobs and pursue new job opportunities so they can build successful lives. My office will continue to address the overuse of non-compete agreements in Illinois.”

According to reports from the White House and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, non-competes impact approximately 30 million – nearly one in five – U.S. workers, including roughly one in six workers without a college degree. In Illinois, non-compete agreements must be premised on a legitimate business interest and narrowly tailored in terms of time, activity and place. However, Madigan’s office has been contacted by employees who are stuck in overly broad non-compete agreements that have effectively limited their job mobility as a result. In August 2016, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Illinois Freedom to Work Act, which prohibits the use of non-compete agreements for employees earning less than the state minimum wage or less than $13 an hour. It goes into effect January 1, 2017.

Bureau Chief Jane Flanagan is leading the investigation of overly restrictive non-competes for Madigan’s Workplace Rights Bureau.

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