Does a separation agreement with a non-competitive clause prevent me from filing for unemployment or working with former clients

Asked about 5 years ago - Chicago, IL

I was "let go" from my employer of five-plus years in the HVAC trade. They are offering me a severance payment which falls below what they were to have paid me for health insurance, but which I am willing to accept given their financial concerns. Does accepting this effect my ability to receive unemployment, and can any such agreement in illinois prevent me from starting my own company in the same service area (where I have lived for some time) as my former clients without perhaps aggressive selective soliciting of those former clients (some of whom I have had a strong relation with over the years)? The agreement is five pages long and contains a silence clause, etc.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Salim John Sheikh

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . You would need to consult the agreement. You are signing a contract that contains the terms that your are agreeing to within it.

    You may still receive unemployment if you are not let go or fired for cause.

    The terms of your agreement should be reviewed carefully by you and i urge you to seek out an attorney to get a second opinion.

  2. Andrew Pavlinski

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . A severance package normally will not prevent you from qualifying for unemployment if you are otherwise eligible. A non-compete cannot be overbroad in area or time, however if you are in the same close geographic area it is probably valid for a period of time. Keep in mind client lists are tradesecrets and use of them may open you up to litigation. You really should consult an attorney on these matters especially if you are planning on opening your own business. An attorney can assist you in building the right foundation for your business and protecting your future interests.

    This response is informational only and not legal advice. Further, this response does not establish an attorney client relationship.

  3. Joseph Andrew Harrison

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . I agree with my colleagues...the language of the agreement is controlling in this case.

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