When employees are hired to work for a company that deals with personal information, they are often required to sign a confidentiality agreement. The agreement ensures that the employees who have access to the confidential information keep the information personal and secret. Employees can face termination or legal troubles if the confidentiality agreement is breached.
A common confidentiality agreement outlines the responsibilities and tasks of the employee in the given job position. It will mention what types of documents or papers the employee will have access to in order to complete the work in question. The employee will be informed of the importance of these documents. The expectation of confidentiality is outlined, along with the consequences that may follow if the agreement is breached. Some agreements lead to immediate employment termination, while others may have lesser consequences.
The employee must agree and sign the confidentiality agreement to make it a legal document. This means that an employer should not allow the employee to be exposed to any confidential documents or information before an agreement has been signed. The confidentiality agreement should end with a statement that claims that the employee fully understands the terms outlined in the agreement, along with the policies and procedures that will be implemented in case the confidential information is leaked. A signature is required by the employer, the employee and a witness. The agreement also should be dated.
Required Employees to Sign
While some people will never see a confidentiality agreement in their entire working career, others will see one in each job position they work. Employees working directly with patient information are required to sign confidentiality agreements. This can include basic receptionist positions at a family doctor or a psychologist working as part of a larger practice. Employees working in law offices also are subject to signing the agreement. Other examples include any political or law enforcement job that directly deals with confidential information.
Purpose and Importance
Confidentiality agreements are created to protect the customers, clients or patients the given business may interact with at any given time. Some information provided by the patients or clients may be personal or important, which they prefer be kept personal. In these types of instances, only chosen workers are allowed to read through the files. Breaching employee, patient or client confidentiality can damage the company’s reputation as a trusted business source and can mean legal action or lawsuits on behalf of the victims.
Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.