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What Is Employer Confidentiality?

A business that hires an employee may request that the employee keep particular company matters and information confidential.
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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2014
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Employer confidentiality is what most employers want employees to respect, meaning that they do not want employees to reveal confidential employer information to either the people they know, the general public, or competing businesses. Most new employees are required to sign an employer confidentiality agreement when they start work at a new company. When a person works for a company, he or she is typically privy to very sensitive information, such as confidential pricing information, customer information, and marketing strategies. These are all examples of things an employer would want to keep confidential both during and after a person's employment with the company.

In some cases, employees become disgruntled with the company they work for and might be tempted to break the employer confidentiality agreement to spite the company or for their own personal gain. Things like lay-offs, pay cuts, and other changes within a company that negatively impact an employee might bring about the desire to share this confidential information. Most companies know this, and it is one other reason why their confidentiality agreement tends to be so important. If a company discovers that an employee who either presently is or was previously working for the company divulges any sensitive information, it may have the right to take legal action against the employee.

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Many employees either do not think of the fact that they signed an employer confidentiality agreement or simply do not remember ever signing one. Companies often present new hires with a stack of papers to sign, which usually includes the confidentiality agreement, and employees may sign them all without taking the time to look them over. Employees who are not aware of the confidentiality agreement are much more likely to break the agreement. It may benefit employers to carefully go over the confidentiality with new hires and stress the importance of that particular piece of paper before the employee signs it.

In addition to employer confidentiality, there is also such a thing as employee confidentiality. When a person is hired by a company, he typically shares much of his sensitive information with that company. Her employer may have a file that contains her social security number, rate of pay, and possibly credit score. Employers also may keep resumes and other pieces of information that could include name, address, and medical history. Most employers are required to provide their new employees with a privacy statement promising that any personal information they attain will never be shared with or sold to anyone.

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