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What If…A Confidentiality Agreement is broken?

A member of staff who works for you in a domestic and household staff capacity signs a confidentiality agreement with her employer immediately prior to commencing work.

What if, however, after a period of time that person leaves and then breaks the confidentiality agreement. Perhaps they go to the press with revealing personal details. What can the employer do to then protect themselves?

We asked solicitors Hine Legal, what is the ex-employers recourse/redress? Their advice is:

“Hopefully you will find out from the journalist contacting you for a comment before the story goes to press, in which case you should contact a solicitor immediately to get legal advice. They should be able to apply for an interim injunction to try to prevent the story being published. If the story is printed, you could also apply for damages and costs.

“With regards to what action you can take against the ex-employee, hopefully your confidentiality agreement has been properly drafted and refers to the need to keep household matters private. Her breach of confidentiality will normally mean you can take legal action against her for damages.

“But what you really want to do is to prevent such matters occurring in the first place. It is therefore sensible to have a clearly worded confidentiality agreement and to remind staff at the start and end of their employment of their duties under this. You may want to consider offering a settlement agreement, including a further duty of confidentiality, for a departing employee with a good reference in return, In any event, gently also remind them that any leaks could result in legal action against them and your willingness to give a reference.”

We hope you are never placed in that situation, but if so. the above may well prove helpful.

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