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Severance Agreements (Employee):

Naperville Law Firm Provides Detailed Analyses of Severance Agreements

Illinois attorneys help terminated employees evaluate their options

Losing a job can be incredibly stressful. The emotional and financial pressure you face is not conducive to making careful long-term legal decisions. Yet this is when many dismissed employees are presented with severance agreements where payment is offered in exchange for a waiver of your legal rights. If this happens to you, a Law Office of Mark J. Baiocchi lawyer will evaluate potential claims against your employer so that you can have the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.

Thorough Naperville counselors assess potential claims

To determine whether a severance payment compensates you fairly, you need to understand the likelihood of a successful lawsuit against your employer. Our Illinois attorneys can quickly evaluate potential legal actions and what you might be able to recover by alleging:

  • Discrimination based on age, sex, religion or membership in another group protected under federal or state law
  •  Violation of an employment contract
  •  Refusal of an employer to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Consideration you will receive for executing a noncompete agreement
  • Unlawful retaliation for reporting employer misconduct

Our knowledge of state law and compensation obtained by plaintiffs in similar situations is crucial to an informed decision as to whether the severance payment is adequate. Employees may sign agreements at the beginning, middle, or end of an employment relationship with an employer that may include a non-compete agreement. A non-compete agreement places limitations on how an employee may use the employer’s customers, trade information, or employees in the course of obtaining or continuing an employment relationship with another employer. Non-compete agreements limit a departing employee from competing directly with the employer.

Non-compete agreements may be signed in exchange for benefits, such as stock grants or as part of a severance agreement at the end of your employment, or they may be signed at some point in the employment relationship as part of a continuing employment relationship. Severance agreements, however, are agreements signed at the end of the employment relationship that extend some form of payment to the departing employee in exchange for certain benefits to the employer, such as signing a non-compete agreement or waiving potential claims against the employer. Assessing these agreements is extremely important because employers often seek agreements that are balanced in their favor to the employee’s disadvantage. Working with an employment attorney to assess and negotiate these agreements can put you in a better position to receive a fair agreement.

The law regarding non-competes has become very contentious and varies from state to state. Even in Illinois, state courts may treat the issue differently than federal courts.

Typically a non-compete agreement will be offered at the end of employment in exchange for severance benefits. Some employers will request the non-compete agreement for executives and technical experts, such as doctors, in exchange for an employment contract or specific benefits such as a stock grant or option to buy in as an owner.

A non-compete is also only enforceable when it is necessary to protect an employer’s legitimate business interests. The employer’s legitimate business interests may be very broad. It could be protecting trade secrets, business strategies, future business plans, client lists, or even a limited geographic customer base.

Non-compete agreements must also be reasonably limited. The employer can enforce an agreement that prevents the employee from competing in the same geographic market for a certain time period in the same line of business to protect the employer’s customer base and market power. In the modern transnational business environment and internet marketing, the geographic limits may reasonably be global in some cases where the employer is very large or seriously markets products and services through the internet.

Reach out to our lawyers for comprehensive advice on severance and non- compete agreements

Contact Law Office of Mark J. Baiocchi online or at 630-983-4200 to schedule a consultation with a thorough Illinois employment law attorney who can help you determine whether signing or challenging a severance agreement is in your best interest.