An Employer and Employee Restrictive Covenant Dispute in the News: The Law Behind the Headlines

By: Thomas L. Skalmoski

These recent news headlines tell the tale of a typical dispute between an employer committed to protecting itself from the potential of a departing employee’s unfair competition and an employee wanting to pursue a new employment opportunity: “Kohl’s sues departing executive/Retailer says IT employee knows ‘dangerous’ information about long-term growth strategy” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 4, 2015), “Kohl’s in job change fight/Company tries to enforce noncompete contract” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 6, 2015), “Kohl’s fights retailer over exec” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 7, 2015) and “Kohl’s loses effort to block exec/Judge refuses to stop official from taking higher-paying job” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 11, 2015). This legal case involved a restrictive covenant — a common device used by employers to protect their business information and customer relationships from unfair competition by a former employee. What are restrictive covenants? Who should be aware of them? Are they enforceable in Wisconsin? Continue reading


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