Q: Can I ask employees to sign agreements to keep my information or my clients’ information confidential?
A: Yes, under certain circumstances. These agreements are regulated by state law. Where permitted, such agreements should be written by legal counsel and narrowly-tailored to protect information that is truly confidential. Truly confidential information is kept secret and valuable because of its secrecy. It is not available through sources in the public domain. The employer must take steps to protect this information from inappropriate disclosure. This likely means restricting access, marking it confidential, storing it securely, and training authorized employees in handling it. Although the tendency is to write confidentially agreements very broadly and to use them with all employees, this is not the best choice to ensure enforceability.