Keeping Things “in the Family”

In the 2001 suspense thriller Spy Game, a retiring CIA officer played by Robert Redford is asked why he did not read a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) he just signed. He would quip that he read it a thousand times. In a way, that importance on security underlines why a company’s employees are obligated to sign NDAs as part of being in the organization. If you are now concerned for protecting vital trade secrets in your business, an employment lawyer has the skills to help you craft an ironclad NDA.

Vital Elements

Some common elements are worth looking at, especially when based on current labor law. You can list down all-encompassing parts of your business operations as something that cannot be disclosed outside the company. This will include operational methods, patented material, and even lists of your business contacts. However, this cannot cover anything that’s available in the public domain.

Time is on My Side

The time element is critical as part of the obligations. State that the NDA starts from the time an employee is hired. A provision for separated employees can state that they cannot be allowed to talk about the company for a few years after they go. Outline the penalties for violating it, especially if they left you for the competition.

NDAs may be a bitter pill to swallow for some. Still, they can be part of what instills company loyalty.


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