“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when many are facing financial uncertainty, we must ensure that Illinois workers are protected and able to seek employment to provide for themselves and their families,” said Burke. “By placing practical and reasonable limitations on an employer’s ability to require their workers to enter into agreements that bar them from obtaining certain jobs in the near future, we can help expand opportunities for those in need of work across our state.”
Burke’s measure continues her efforts to expand workers’ rights by updating the Illinois Freedom to Work Act to make reasonable limitations on the state’s non-compete and non-solicitation laws. Non-compete and non-solicitation covenants can prohibit employees from working for a competing business or starting a business that would compete with their employer. Burke’s legislation clarifies these laws for employers and helps protect workers from undue financial hardship that may occur as a result of their inability to find work after signing such an agreement with a previous employer. The legislation also makes non-compete clauses in employment contracts void if an employee is terminated or furloughed as a result of COVID-19 business circumstances or government mitigation guidelines.
“Throughout the ongoing pandemic, one of my first priorities has been to implement stronger protections for our working families and provide support for displaced workers,” said Burke. “Passing this legislation would allow for better protections for working men and women while improving clarity for employers who use non-compete or non-solicitation clauses in their employment contracts.”