When you are being offered a new job, you might have to sign an employee confidentiality agreement. As with any legal contract, it is important to understand what it is that you are signing. Otherwise, you might agree to something that you do not want to. Alternatively, you might lose your job, or get sued, because you did not adhere to the contract. In this article, you will learn what a confidentiality agreement is, what it consists of and what you should think about before signing one.
What is an Employee Confidentiality Agreement?
This type of contract is designed in order to protect confidential information which must not be disclosed. This is due to the fact that certain information can affect the competitiveness of the company if it is not kept secret. New ideas and products, business strategies and financial information are some examples of information that can affect the company in a negative way if disclosed.
The Contents of the Agreement
First of all, the contract should state who the agreement concerns, for example the employer and the employee. It must also, in a clear way, let the employee know which information that is confidential and must be protected. This part of the contract needs to be precise and explicit, and you should make sure that you know exactly which kind of information you are not allowed to disclose before signing. There may be exceptions to the agreement, such as situations where the confidential information is already known to the public. These exceptions should also be made clear in the agreement.
It is common that the employee confidentiality agreement does not end when the employee stops working for the company. It can also be required that an employee, who is no longer working for the company, have to wait for a period of time before starting to work for a competitor company. The employer can also claim ownership of everything that is produced by the employee during the employment. When the employment ends, the employee might have to return all documents and files containing information about the company. In addition, the agreement always states what the consequences will be if the employee does not adhere to the contract.
What to Consider Before Signing this NDA
The most important thing to ensure before signing an employee confidentiality agreement, is that all the confidential information is stated in a clear way. Look out for any vague language, and make sure that you know exactly what is required of you if you sign. If you do not understand everything, then ask for clarifications. Another thing that you need to look carefully at is what the consequences are if you breach the confidentiality agreement. Ask yourself if the consequences are reasonable and proportional to the breach.
Remember that you always have the right to ask to alter or modify the agreement, if there is something that you think is not right. All contracts should be in favor of both parties, and if getting the job is not worth signing the contract, then maybe you will need to decline the job offer. If anything seems strange to you, consider asking a lawyer to take a look at the agreement. It might seem unnecessary, but it is definitely worth it in the long run.