Company owners and executives in Chicago, Detroit and other cities around the midwest know that their employees are among some of the most valuable assets they have. The knowledge that people can amass after working for a company for a long time can include very sensitive and competitively essential data. For this reason, the development of noncompete agreements is somewhat a common practice in many industries.
These contracts are designed to prevent employees from leaving one company and immediately going to a competitor where their knowledge of their former employers can help their new employers. In the event that a person does make such a job transition, the noncompete agreement may allow the original employer the right to pursue legal action. An example of this can be seen in a case in which a man once worked as a high-level strategist for a beer company with a noncompete agreement for one year in place.
He has subsequently moved to a similar position for a company in their wine and spirits business. The original company offered to meet in the middle and shorten the noncompete time from 12 to six months but that offer was rejected. They are now accusing him of breach of contract and of violation of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act. It is unclear how the difference in market focus areas may play into the case.
When a contract dispute arises, people in Illinois or Michigan might want to consult with a contract lawyer to understand their rights.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “MillerCoors sues former strategist, competitor over alleged breach of contract,” Greg Trotter, February 2, 2018