As a business owner or professional in Texas, you may have business-related information you want to keep confidential. As such, you may ask your employees or those with whom you work to sign confidentiality agreements. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, these types of agreements stipulate that the signer keep information confidential, and return any documents as requested.
Perhaps the most obvious way for you to handle a breach of confidentiality is to terminate the offending worker’s employment. Typically, you will be well within your legal rights to fire an employee who has violated this type of agreement. If you have an employment contract in place, it is advisable to check the fine print before making your decision. Often times, however, if employees have breached confidentiality agreements, they have also likely breached their employment contracts.
Sometimes, confidentiality agreement violations may be considered a crime. If a worker’s breach involved theft of intellectual property or proprietary information, he or she could be held criminally liable. As such, you could choose to bring the authorities in to handle the situation. In these cases, those who committed breaches may be ordered to pay fines, or be sentenced to prison.
As a business owner or employer, you could also choose to take legal action against workers who breach confidentiality agreements. Chron.com points out that you may be able to obtain financial compensation for the damages your business suffered as a result of the confidentiality agreement breach. For example, an employee shares your trade secrets with a competitor. As a result, you lose revenue or your market share. You could choose to file a civil lawsuit seeking punitive damages from the worker.
While this information should not be considered legal advice, it may help you understand the options you have if employees violate your confidentiality agreements. As such, this post should only be taken as general information.