How do business owners maintain confidentiality

Nondisclosure agreement and confidentiality agreement in labor law

If an employment relationship is entered into, the future employee usually obtains Knowledge of sensitive information that affects the company itself as well as personal data of its customers.

These dates are partly subject to data protection, others have for the company in which he works, considerable value, after all, are for example Trade secrets worth real money. It is unthinkable that these would be passed on to competitors.

Because of this, some contain employment contracts Clauses that expressly oblige the employee to maintain confidentiality. By signing, he has to fulfill a so-called obligation of confidentiality or nondisclosure - this is what the law provides.

Compact knowledge: non-disclosure agreement

How must a non-disclosure agreement be formulated?

There is no binding formulation for the confidentiality agreement. Employers should, however, refrain from overly general clauses that restrict the employees too much, as these are usually not legal.

When is information a trade or trade secret?

Here you can find out which criteria are used to define a secret.

How are violations of the nondisclosure agreement punished?

Betrayal is a criminal offense that could result in a fine or imprisonment for up to three years. In addition, the employee must expect a contractual penalty, a warning and possibly even a termination.

Further information on the subject of confidentiality agreements:

How is a confidentiality obligation formulated?

The confidentiality agreement applicable to the employment relationship - also as "Non-disclosure agreement" (NDA) - is often part of the employment contract. It includes - especially in the context of legal activities - the following formulations:

  • "It was explained to me that the confidentiality relates to all operational matters that come to my knowledge in the course of my work."
  • “The non-disclosure agreement also includes other employees. You should also keep silent about them. "
  • "The present confidentiality agreement will continue to exist even after the employment relationship has ended."
You can also find a wide variety of formulations as samples on the Internet. Employers can download the nondisclosure agreement here very conveniently and, above all, free of charge. However, such a template should be treated with caution; Most of the time, the providers do not claim that the documents provided are complete.

This confidentiality declaration must be acknowledged by both sides with the respective signature.

If you are presented with a non-disclosure agreement as part of a training contract, pay close attention to the wording. Not all are legal. Have in court there are no clauses that are too comprehensive and too restrictive for the employee.

It does not necessarily require an explicit declaration of confidentiality in the employment contractbecause the employee is committed to loyalty to the employer. This already means that company and business secrets may not be passed on to third parties. It also goes from the Law for the Protection of Trade Secrets (GeschGehG) show that to keep confidentiality about internal company matters is. The confidentiality declaration can therefore serve as a reference to this.

What information are trade and business secrets?

In order not to risk a contractual penalty - not even after the termination of the employment relationship - employees should be aware of what a trade or trade secret is while working.

The following rule of thumb applies: such information must be kept secret, that are not available to everyone, about which few people know and the Explicitly protecting employers or. not make them known to the public in a legally and economically justified manner want.

Specifically, these are, for example, the following facts and data:

  • Customer lists
  • Sales figures
  • technical know-how such as patent applications
  • Company creditworthiness
  • Production process
Is it lawful that the employee undertakes to To keep quiet about his salary - also and especially towards his colleagues? In the vast majority of cases, such a confidentiality clause is invalid. Such an agreement is usually only permitted where the wage and salary information is relevant to competition. That is, if a competitor could gain an advantage with this knowledge. Otherwise, the principle of equal treatment is usually more important (Landesarbeitsgericht Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Az. 2 Sa 237/09).

How high can the contractual penalty be in the event of an infringement?

If the duty of confidentiality is disregarded by the employee by disclosing company or business secrets to third parties, He can expect substantial contractual penaltieswhich are usually written down in the contract itself. This includes:

  • termination without notice (in cases of hardship)
  • Warnings
  • hefty fines (damages, contractual penalties)
As an employee, you can access information that Disclose illegal conduct on the part of the employer (for example, competition violations, breach of contract, criminal offenses), then the confidentiality agreement in the employment contract does not apply. Accordingly, no sanctions are to be expected, do not adhere to them.
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Nondisclosure agreement and confidentiality agreement in labor law
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