Nondisclosure agreements have got a lot of bad press recently. Google has come up for considerable criticism after current and former employees revealed the restrictions it placed on them. However, as a business owner, you may feel nondisclosure agreements play an important role in protecting your company.
Ensure nondisclosure agreements do not contravene employment law
One of the criticisms aimed at Google is that its nondisclosure agreement restricted workers’ rights guaranteed under employment law. Employees have the right to speak up when suffering discrimination or harassment. They have the right to speak up about safety issues or blow the whistle on an employer breaking the law without fear of retribution or retaliation. The contract Google had them sign prevented them from doing such things.
Every company has information it will wish to protect. You need to strike the right balance between looking after your interests and not infringing on employees´ rights.
Try to restrict the range of the information you cover in any nondisclosure, as well as whom you ask to sign them. There are other ways of encouraging workers to stay loyal to the company even after they leave. Make clear policies to promote openness and encourage employees to report issues to you. Not only does it help you improve as a company, but it makes it less likely an employee has anything bad to say about you when they leave.
Seek legal advice if you are unsure about how to write your nondisclosure agreements. A poorly written nondisclosure may not stand up in court. It could also lead to legal action from an unhappy employee. As Google found out to their cost, it could also do irreparable damage to your reputation as a fair employer.