Vedder Price

Vedder Thinking | News Papers Submitted Urging Illinois Supreme Court to Reconsider New At-Will Employee Restrictive Covenant Law Resulting from Fifield Decision

Press Release

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On Monday, July 29, 2013, James V. Garvey and Frederic T. Knape, members of the Vedder Price Litigation practice group, along with co-counsel James R. Thompson and Linda T. Coberly of Winston & Strawn LLP, submitted papers to the Illinois Supreme Court on behalf of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, urging the Illinois Supreme Court to accept review of, and ultimately overturn, the First District Appellate Court’s June 2013 decision in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc.

The Fifield decision created new law in the area of at-will employee restrictive covenants, making Illinois the first state in the nation to require, as a matter of law, at least two years of employment or continued employment as adequate consideration to support a restrictive covenant agreement where no other consideration is provided.  

The reaction to the Fifield decision in the legal and business communities has been overwhelmingly negative. The decision immediately called into question the enforceability of restrictive covenant agreements in Illinois in relation to any at-will employee who signed a covenant at the beginning of the employment relationship and who has not yet been employed for two years. In addition, the decision created an immediate incentive for such employees to consider seeking competitive employment elsewhere without being bound to otherwise reasonable, valid and enforceable restrictive covenant provisions. The decision has also confounded human resources and hiring personnel as to what now may constitute adequate consideration for a restrictive covenant agreement required to be signed as a condition of new at-will employment.

To read more about the Illinois Appellate Court’s June 2013 decision, please click here.


James V. Garvey


Frederic T. Knape