Gardening leave: A safer alternative to an employee non-compete?

by Christopher Graham and Joseph Kelly


As we’ve discussed previously on this blog, employee non-competition agreements in Illinois can be difficult to enforce; the Illinois Supreme Court in fact recently held that an initial offer of employment for an at-will employee isn’t enough to make a non-compete enforceable.

Employers may want to consider “gardening leave” as an alternative. Common in the United Kingdom, the employee provides a resignation notice and the employer then pays the employee not to work — for the employer or any other employer — for an agreed period.

Illinois courts have not addressed “gardening leave”, but some lawyers believe courts will look more favorably to a “gardening leave” provision than an employee non-compete.

For more information on “gardening leave”, see this excellent article by Kenneth J. Vanko.

Tags: Illinois, employment law, non-competition, non-compete, garden leave, gardening leave

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