MUTUAL NON-DISCLOSURE / CONFIDENTIALITY CLAUSE

Are you wondering why your employer is so fervently pushing you to sign a new agreement about “mutual non-disclosure.” Is the HR director rabidly trying to get everyone to sign a new confidentiality clause before January?

Someone is telling your employer, that such agreements are necessary to protect their confidential information and if employees refuse to sign said agreement, all will be lost (or something to that effect).

Truth is, it is already the law in Virginia that you cannot use, take or misappropriate confidential information from one company for the use at another. It violates Virginia law to do as such, with or without an agreement.

While I would like to tell your employer the agreement is almost moot, they wouldn’t believe me and now I know why. Today I did some exploring online to figure out what lawyers were telling employers about confidentiality agreements.

One website says “Protect company information with a powerful agreement. A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is first line of defense in protecting confidential company information such as customer data, inventions and trade secrets. An NDA is an important weapon when you’ve discovered illegal disclosure. But more importantly, it’s a powerful deterrent, allowing you and your business associates to discuss and agree on privacy right from the start.”

Website goes on to say if you buy their agreement “you’ll get: Peace of mind: Work freely with others knowing they will keep your information private and confidential.” You will also get a list of “Do’s and Don’ts: Follow these steps to create a professional, dispute-free work relationship.”

HA – that makes me laugh. A list on how to create a good employment relationship.

Also, I am impressed at their confidence in promising peace of mind. Now for employees, this may explain why your employer will not take no for an answer. They literally do not know any better.

So if you indeed are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement or non-disclosure, do not fret. It’s the law of Virginia anyway. If you think your agreement goes a bit far, have us review it and help explain the issues.

After all, we think employees deserve a little peace of mind as well.

Lauren Ellerman

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.