Employment Agreements, Confidentiality Clauses & Whistleblower Rights – a Balancing Act

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Most severance agreements these days specify that nothing in the agreement prevents the employee from speaking with regulators about possible violations of the law. This is due to regulators’ concerns that the confidentiality clause that is standard in severance agreements may chill employee whistleblowing.

But what about other employment agreements that have confidentiality clauses?

Employees sign all sorts of agreements with confidentiality restrictions, ranging from offer letters to deferred compensation award agreements. Must these agreements also exempt whistleblowing from their confidentiality obligations?

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Illinois Non-Compete Ban for Low-Wage Workers Goes into Effect January 1, 2017

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Illinois employers have a new law to be mindful of beginning this new year. That’s when the Illinois Freedom to Work Act (the “Act”) goes into effect banning the use of non-compete agreements with low-wage employees. 

The Act prohibits employers from entering into “covenants not to compete” with “low-wage employees” after January 1, 2017, and declares void any covenant entered into in violation of the Act. The new law does not apply to covenants not to compete entered into before January 1st. Continue reading

The Illinois AG’s Suit Against Jimmy John’s On Non-Competes – What It Means For Employers

Jimmy John's, Non-Compete

The Illinois Attorney General filed suit in June 2016 against Jimmy John’s for its use of non-competes with low-wage workers. This suit – which appears to be the first of its kind – alleges Jimmy John’s use of non-competes violates Illinois law and hurts Illinois residents and businesses by limiting the pool of available workers and artificially suppressing wages.

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White House Report On Non-Competes – Are The Feds Taking Over Employee Competition Law?

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What is up with the federal government’s new-found interest in non-competes and other legal issues that arise when employees move between competitors?

First the Treasury Department issued a report on the impact of non-compete agreements on the economy. Then Congress passed the Defense of Trade Secrets Act. And then, in May of this year, the White House issued its own report on non-compete agreements.

What do these federal initiatives mean? And how do these changes effect employers and employees? Continue reading