How would you react if you found out that your former employee revealed crucial information about your company to your closest rival in the industry? Unfortunately, this can and does occur. One way to be proactive and to set expectations around how proprietary company information should be handled is to have a employee confidentiality agreement.
What exactly is an employee confidentiality agreement? Basically, it is a legal paper or contract that states that the employee cannot disclose any pertinent or important information about your company; whether they are still employed with your company or not.
A management best practice is to have all new employees review and sign the agreement as part of their orientation to your company.
Signing a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement would legally prohibit your employee from divulging any information whether intentionally or accidentally. If any sensitive information is divulged by the employee, then the employee will be liable; especially if it results in company damages or loss of profits.
It can also be stipulated in the employee confidentiality agreement that all documents, whether in digital or paper form, must be returned to the company once their employment has been terminated.
Most employees are professional and value the employer-employee relationship. Stealing company information is the furthest thing from their minds.
But in situations where an employee may be frustrated, disgruntled, or sees an opportunity for personal gain at the expense of the employer, having a confidentiality agreement will give you the legal legs that you need to address any violations of company policy as it relates to proprietary information.
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