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Illinois Labor Law Limits Choices for Workers Seeking New Jobs

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Chicago, ILA recent ruling from a Chicago area court could potentially redefine Illinois labor law for all employees contractually bound by noncompete clauses.

In a ruling handed down this past September, an appellate court found that Neil Elhers, a former employee of Sunbelt Rentals, was contractually prohibited from working within 50 miles of his previous employer, which extended Ehlert's daily commute to more than 120 miles round trip.

Analysts at the Chicago Tribune believe that the ruling effectively limits a citizen's right to find gainful employment in the midst of turbulent economic times and will result in much legal trouble in the future.

"This case is going to become a lightning rod because employers will push other courts to follow this ruling," employment lawyer and Sunbelt representative Joel Rice tells The Tribune. "I predict the Illinois Supreme Court will have to deal with this in coming years."

The Tribune's Chicago Law blog claims that companies seeking to enact a noncompete clause within the Prairie State were historically required to pass a two-part test by proving the clause to be reasonable in scope and used to protect confidential information or close customer relationships. The new ruling alleviates a company's need to abide by the second portion of the test.

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