What is Employer Confidentiality?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2019
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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.


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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Post 2

I'm all for employees not blabbing company secrets, but employers should definitely give their workers the same consideration.

Having said that, sometimes it's hard to know what is considered sharing company secrets and what's not. A couple of years ago, there was a local online political chat room where someone was talking in detail about what was going on in the newsroom of a local newspaper. I have a friend who works for the paper and she said the bosses were not happy about the talk. They kind of put the word out that if the person got caught, that their job would be on the line. She said there wasn't a confidentiality agreement in place, but that the person saying those things at least should have known better.

Post 1

It's not only privacy information, but performance information that an employer should keep quiet. The employer should also keep his or her nose out of an employee's personal life, unless it is infringing on the employee's work.

A boss I had once called me into his office to ask me why my husband didn't have a job at that time -- like it was any of his business. I was at work, on time, every day. But for some reason, he thought it was his business to ask me. I sort of stammered around, when I should have asked him straight out why he thought he had any right to that information. That wasn't the only time he did something like that, but that was one of the worst instances.

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