Non-compete and withheld severance

I was laid off from an IT consulting company yesterday. Management said the revenue numbers were forcing them to lay off a consultant. This has happened several times where I worked. Yesterday was also payday, but they are holding my paycheck until I sign the usual severance agreement. Can they do that? I've also heard that in Illinois, if not everywhere, they are compelled to pay me for unused vacation time. Is this true?
I've also got non-compete issues here. My former company is a technical consulting firm. I am a technical consultant. Based on what I've seen, I know I can do a better job of making clients happy on my own than they have been...but my non-compete says that voluntarily or not, for 1 year after my termination I cannot solicit clients or work for a company that does. Basically I cannot work in my chosen profession for a year if this is enforcable. Is it?

1 answer  |  asked Mar 24, 2002 12:08 AM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

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Answers (1)

Aaron Maduff
Non-compete and withheld severance -- You have multiple claims

There is certainly no requirement that they provide you severance pay. However, it is usual to do so in exchange for various releases. But they cannot withhold your check. You have described violations of both Federal and State Law. In addition, while non-compete agreements are enforcable, they have to be reasonable and if this particular agreement prohibits you from working in your profession, it is very likely unreasonable and not enforcable. Normally what we will do in situations like this is negotiate a severance package for the client. There seems to be quite a bit to work with here as well. Feel free to give us a call or consult with an attorney.
Aaron Maduff

posted by Aaron Maduff  |  Mar 24, 2002 12:23 AM [EST]

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