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California Employment Lawyers > Blog > Employment > Should You Sign a Confidentiality Agreement to Settle Your Case?

Should You Sign a Confidentiality Agreement to Settle Your Case?


At the end of your employment discrimination, unpaid wages, or similar employment case, if the case does settle out of court, your employer or its insurance company will, without a doubt, want you to sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of receiving your settlement. Should you sign it?

More Compensation?

One thing to remember is that if your employer does want you to sign a confidentiality agreement, there is the chance that they will pay you more for signing it—that is, you may be able to demand an increased settlement amount, in return for your agreement to sign a confidentiality agreement.

If you went to court and obtained a verdict in trial, there is no such thing as confidentiality. So, by asking you to sign one, the employer is asking for more than what they would get in trial—that’s something you can ask them to compensate you for, if you are inclined to agree to it.

What Happens if You Sign?

But before making or accepting the confidentiality agreement, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of signing one, and understand what a confidentiality agreement does and does not do.

As the name implies, a confidentiality agreement will require that you keep the details of your case absolutely silent. Some will require you to keep just the settlement itself confidential, and others will require you to keep every detail about your case, allegations, or claims, absolutely silent.

No Talking-To Anyone

Many people think that a confidentiality agreement only keeps them from going to the media, or posting on social media about their case. While that would be prohibited, that’s not all a confidentiality agreement would restrict you from doing.

It would prohibit you from ever discussing the terms of the case or settlement to friends, to co-workers or to family. Even if you aren’t being critical of your employer, you would be prohibited from saying anything. Even to your closest family member, you would be prohibited from discussing anything about the case.

How Will They Know?

Is the Defendant sitting at your dinner table, just waiting for you to discuss the case or settlement with your spouse and thus violate the confidentiality agreement? Of course not. But people talk.

If you tell your wife, and she mentions something to people she works with, or if you tell your son, and he puts something on social media…you just never know when or if word will ever get back to someone who works at your employer or former employer, and suddenly, they know you have violated the confidentiality agreement.

Breaching the Confidentiality Agreement

Penalties for breaching confidentiality can be severe. Some may have a set monetary penalty—and yes, you can end up owing your employer money if the confidentiality agreement is breached. Other agreements may make the penalty a payback of all the money they paid you as part of your settlement. They also will make you pay their attorneys fees.

Let us help you from start to finish in your unpaid wages or employment discrimination case. Contact the San Jose employment lawyers at the Costanzo Law Firm today.




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