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How to handle a breach of a confidentiality agreement

Almost every company will have its employees sign a confidentiality agreement when hired. This is a document that protects the company from secrets and other information getting out to the public or to its competitors. Employees are to follow the stipulations listed in the agreement or risk being fired and sued for breach of the agreement. Here's how to handle a breach of a confidentiality agreement.

Speak with the employee immediately. Find out if they understand the serious nature of the breach. Ask them why they shared trade secrets and who they spoke with about the secrets. Make sure the employee has an understanding of how much this breach is going to affect the company.

Open an investigation into the breach of confidentiality. Find out if the breach was intentional or accidental. This can be done by interviewing other employees and review the seriousness of the information that has been leaked from your company.

You now must determine a course of action. If the breach was intentional, was it dire enough to lead to the employee's termination? If not, do you still fire the employee to make an example out of them for the rest of your employees to see how serious you are?

Come up with ideas as to how you can prevent a breach of this kind from happening again in the future. Explain the seriousness of confidentiality to all new employees.

You need to take seriously any incidents involving the breach of a confidentiality agreement by an employee. Your trade secrets are at risk as well as the future of your business. Don't let an employee who has breached an agreement take down everything you have built.

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