California Law Regarding Confidentiality Agreements

Although the new law does not apply directly to confidentiality agreements signed before the effective date, it may nevertheless have an indirect impact on agreements signed before that date. The new status will only apply to contracts “concluded, amended or renewed on or after January 1, 2017.” (California Labor Code Section ยงยง 925(f)) Employers often add a provision in severance pay agreements and other documents that workers sign at the end of their employment to confirm the person`s ongoing obligations under the confidentiality agreement signed during their employment. Anonymously as plaintiff John Doe, the employee notes at the beginning of his complaint that the matter does not concern “trade secrets, consumer privacy, or any other Google information that should not be disclosed under the law (e.g.B essential non-public information under securities laws).” According to the employee, the case is rather about “Google`s use of privacy and other policies for illegal and inappropriate purposes” and that “Google essentially defines everything as `confidential information`.” One of the key issues for most disputes relating to the protection of confidential information is (1) whether the information is truly confidential in nature and (2) whether the company has taken appropriate measures to maintain its confidentiality. At the first level, confidential information cannot simply be what the company claims to be confidential. It really has to be private information. (Therefore, while I admit to (1) that the number of X suppliers in Europe is confidential information, but that this information is easy to find on the internet, it is not really confidential. If I put confidential information on the Internet myself or distribute it publicly, I cannot later say that it was confidential, because my own actions revealed its confidentiality. Unlike competition agreements, which are rarely enforceable, duly drafted confidentiality agreements are usually enforceable. . .



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Teisha Rowland, PhD, is the author of this blog.


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