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Drafting Enforceable Restrictions on Recruiting Employees

JDSupra (03/28/2012)

This article, originally published by the Illinois State Bar
Association, considers the fact that employment and other
contracts may restrict soliciting or hiring a firm’s
employees for a period of time. Court decisions applying Illinois
statutes recognize that having a stable work force is a
legitimate business interest, but do not allow in most instances
blanket restrictions on recruiting or hiring. However, a blanket
restriction may be permitted given unusual circumstances such as
a firm’s small size or the nature of the work force or

Unless those circumstances are apparent, a recruitment
restriction should be limited to competitive employment of those
employees having confidential knowledge or with whom the
restricted party holds a recruiting advantage. Recruiting
advantages include relationships with the employees, knowledge of
a firm’s confidential data, and knowledge of an
employee’s competencies.

The restriction should be reasonably limited in terms of
geography and timeframe. Furthermore, the restriction’s
purview should be narrower for lower level employees than for
senior management. For employees other than senior management,
the restriction may need to be confined to subordinates, other
employees with whom the restricted employee works, and senior