California employers often have their employees and independent contractors sign confidentiality agreements before they’re allowed to take on a job. Employers do so for a variety of reasons. One of the more common reasons is to protect the business’ intellectual property rights such as trade secrets. Confidentiality agreements often spell out the penalties that a worker face should they violate their company’s trust.
It’s not uncommon for workers who sign confidentiality agreements to be fired from their job if they violate the terms. This scenario is particularly common among employees that are under contract. The terms of that legal agreement generally detail how a variety of penalties may be assessed when a worker violates specific parts of their employment contract. Being fired is one of the more serious steps that an employer may take in such instances.
Workers who violate confidentiality agreements are also sometimes sued. This may happen in addition to that individual being fired from their job. Employees who violate confidentiality contracts may have to pay for both the breach as well as for damages for any lost revenue that their employer suffered due to the breach.
However, there are also some instances in which an employee may be brought up on criminal charges for breaching their confidentiality agreement. This scenario generally only happens in serious cases in which there is an extreme emotional, physical or financial loss.
Any employee that’s accused of breaching a confidentiality agreement is sure to suffer a tarnished image in their profession. The breach may be so profound that it affects the ability to become gainfully employed in the same industry once again. While you’d think that this possibility alone would cause your employees to abide by the agreements that they signed, it often doesn’t. Many believe that they won’t get caught.
If you have an employee that has violated you and your business’ trust, an experienced business litigation attorney can advise you of how to best hold them accountable for their indiscretions.