Non disclosure agreements (NDAs) hit the headlines recently when the break up between Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood and his glamorous and younger former girlfriend became a very public fallout when she allegedly refused to sign one.
But NDAs aren’t just for celebrity couples keen to keep their private life out of the limelight, they also have a place in business.
Julia Fitzsimmons, a Partner in our employment team, discusses why and when they can be used in the workplace:
NDAs can be used to protect employers, for example in IT or other businesses where client projects require confidentiality.
They are designed to protect legitimate matters of business and commercial confidentiality. It goes without saying that their requirement and remit must be clearly disclosed and discussed with an employee if they are asked to sign one.
NDAs can form part of settlement agreements when an employee comes to leave a business. They are used to protect the employer from unfair dismissal and other claims an Employment Tribunal could hear as well as keeping the fact and amount of the termination payment confidential. A common agreement is that neither party can disclose a payment has been made in order to bring employment to an end and that neither party will make disparaging comments about the other.
These clauses in settlement agreements need to be clearly and properly drafted so each party knows what is being agreed to and what they are prevented from doing so it is vital each document is tailored to the specific requirements of the employer.
NDAs are not a cloak for the employer to hide behind or to cover up wrongdoing. They cannot exclude legitimate concerns an employee may have in relation to, for example, whistleblowing or to prevent an individual contacting the police or regulatory authority in the event of an unlawful act, including sexual harassment.
For help and advice on these issues Julia Fitzsimmons will be able to help.