Blog

Why Confidentiality Agreements Are A Must

Click here to download PDF

Disclosing Family Secrets

Why Confidentiality Agreements Are A Must

For Family Employers

In her lawsuit against her former employer, a nanny included detailed accounts of her employer’s lifestyle and preferences in an effort to “ruin” him. The nanny alleged speculative information about her employer’s work life in the lawsuit and included information about people the employer and his spouse discussed over dinner and a list of the people who visited the home. The nanny also mentioned situations that would be embarrassing for her employer.

The nanny is suing her former employer for retaliation, a hostile work environment, age discrimination, unpaid wages, and violation of other labor and health codes. She is seeking more than six million dollars in damages. The nanny worked for the employer for six months, starting in late 2016.

The employer, a former engineer for Uber, is facing another lawsuit for allegedly stealing trade secrets from his previous employer, in order to launch his own self-driving truck start-up company. The nanny of the former Uber engineer has filed an excruciatingly detailed lawsuit,” techcrunch.com (Jan. 16, 2018).

Why Confidentiality Agreements Are A Must

And a few tips for you to keep in mind when preparing them

Commentary and Checklist

In this matter, the former nanny published embarrassing information in the form of a lawsuit in order to damage her employer’s reputation. A confidentiality agreement could have protected personal information from improper disclosure.

  • Family employers should consider providing additional consideration (i.e., a money payment) to existing staff in exchange for signing a confidentiality agreement so that it will be legally enforceable.
  • For new hires, family employers should make a confidentiality agreement a condition of being hired.
  • During orientation, train all staff on the confidentiality agreement. Make sure they know that guarding your privacy and the privacy of those around you is necessary not only to protect your reputation but also for your physical safety because personal information could be used by criminals to harm you or your family.
  • Clearly state that violating the confidentiality agreement will be grounds for termination, as well as grounds for a lawsuit.
  • The agreement should not expire upon termination of the employment relationship.
  • If any personal information is leaked, have a third party conduct a thorough investigation. If the investigation concludes that a current or former staff member is responsible, follow your disciplinary procedures for confidentiality agreement violations.

CAUTION Family employers must make sure not to punish staff for openly discussing information that is protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Under this law, a family employer must allow staff to talk with each other about pay or other workplace conditions with the objective of improving them.

A staff confidentiality agreement should state that:

  • All private information, communication, photographs, and videos, no matter how created, are to be considered confidential and may not be shared with a third party for any reason.
  • If it is determined that certain information may be divulged to the public, the staff member must obtain written and signed authorization from the employer before doing so.
  • The confidentiality agreement applies to you, your family, and any other individuals with whom you do business or socialize.
  • Always Consult With Legal Counsel When Establishing or Implementing Such Standards or Practices
  • Through our Cornerstone relationship with CHUBB Insurance Group and a multi-year collaboration we have grown with the World’s leading Private Security Consulting firm, Gavin De Becker & Associates, United Western Insurance Brokers is uniquely qualified to support our clients with these important and sensitive matters.

SAMPLE CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT