Former Employer is demanding I sign a confidentiality deed

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Deuxbiers

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Jun 4, 2015
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I have received a letter from a solicitor acting on behalf of my former employer asking me to sign a deed to say I shall:

1. comply with a clause in my contract of employment referring to Confidential Information

2. If requested, confirm I have complied with the undertaking set-forth in the deed.

I am concerned at the threatening tone of the letter and I wish to confirm if they have a legal right to ask me to sign the deed.
 

fisicx

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Laugh at their temerity, chuck it in the bin and get on with life.
 
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Deuxbiers

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Jun 4, 2015
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Thanks everyone for the sanity check. I thought I was going mad!! I do still have some concerns that there is some legal basis for which they can demand this.

The letter makes several unsubstantiated claims regarding my behaviour during the last few days of my employment. The letter also contains several inaccurate and false statements, including alluding to me now working for a competitor and sharing company confidential information with my new employer. All of which is untrue.

My new employer does not operate in the same sector as my former employer and is not in competition. I have not shared any confidential information or data with them from my former employer. My former employer does not know the nature of work of my new employer and has no evidence to suggest I have passed any confidential information to them.

The letter is quite threatening, particularly the last paragraph which expresses my employer regards this as a serious matter, and failure to respond within the time limit given will lead to further unspecified action.
 
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Deuxbiers

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Jun 4, 2015
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He's very paranoid about company IP. He also has money to throw at problems and he sees me as a 'problem'! He's had solicitors involved with 6 of my former colleagues who have been suspended. One was suspended in Jan this year and as far as I know is still on suspension!! All this time my boss has been using solicitors to help him with investigating them (not cheap at around £500-800 per hour!)
 
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fisicx

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I'd make sure you new employers know about the letter just in case your old boss decides to take action.
 
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Mr D

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He's very paranoid about company IP. He also has money to throw at problems and he sees me as a 'problem'! He's had solicitors involved with 6 of my former colleagues who have been suspended. One was suspended in Jan this year and as far as I know is still on suspension!! All this time my boss has been using solicitors to help him with investigating them (not cheap at around £500-800 per hour!)

Sounds like the sort of boss willing to throw money away. Ah to be suspended from January....
 
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cjd

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You have absolutely no obligation to sign anything, so don't. The contract you signed is your only obligation and if your ex-employer has a problem with that it's entirely his problem.
 
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Hello

Thanks for this info. I do have a copy of some correspondence of the office asking for the best dates to visit to learn the jobs. Would that be enough? Just feels a little off.

I have received a letter from a solicitor acting on behalf of my former employer asking me to sign a deed to say I shall:

1. comply with a clause in my contract of employment referring to Confidential Information

2. If requested, confirm I have complied with the undertaking set-forth in the deed.

I am concerned at the threatening tone of the letter and I wish to confirm if they have a legal right to ask me to sign the deed.

Happens regularly if a former employer believes there is a risk of a former employee breaching the confidentiality clause of the employment contract.

The letter you describe merely states that you are aware of the confidentiality clause and informs you that, should the employer have reason to believe you breached it, you will confirm that you did not.

It's up to you whether you sign it or not. However, should the employer ever instigate legal action, be that warranted or not, you will have a "black mark" in the eyes of a judge for not having signed it (if you have nothing to hide, then there is no reason to re-confirm that you are aware of you contractual restrictions).

Having said that, I've yet to meet an employer who takes legal action of confidentiality issues without having cast iron proof of a breach. It's expensive and a waste of time and money without proof.
 
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The Byre

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Aug 13, 2013
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you will have a "black mark" in the eyes of a judge for not having signed it (if you have nothing to hide, then there is no reason to re-confirm that you are aware of you contractual restrictions).
Absolute nonsense! I can already hear legal professionals snorting with indignation at that statement!

Are you sure you are an HR professional?
 
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Absolute nonsense!

Are you sure you are an HR professional?

It is not "absolute nonsense". Any judge will look at whether each party behaved reasonable. Not signing a confirmatory letter that merely sets your legal obligation under contract is plain and simple not reasonable.

It would be an entirely different kettle of fish if the ex-employer would attempt to impose new confidentiality restrictions that were not covered in the employment contract. This would be deemed unreasonable by a judge.

As for your personal insult - I'll ignore that generally but yes of course I am. In fact I've just dealt with a similar case last week.
 
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Newchodge

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Nov 8, 2012
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Happens regularly if a former employer believes there is a risk of a former employee breaching the confidentiality clause of the employment contract.

The letter you describe merely states that you are aware of the confidentiality clause and informs you that, should the employer have reason to believe you breached it, you will confirm that you did not.

It's up to you whether you sign it or not. However, should the employer ever instigate legal action, be that warranted or not, you will have a "black mark" in the eyes of a judge for not having signed it (if you have nothing to hide, then there is no reason to re-confirm that you are aware of you contractual restrictions).

Having said that, I've yet to meet an employer who takes legal action of confidentiality issues without having cast iron proof of a breach. It's expensive and a waste of time and money without proof.
You what? I have yet to meet an employment judge who would look favourably on legal bullying by an employer against an employee who has committed no wrong.
 
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You what? I have yet to meet an employment judge who would look favourably on legal bullying by an employer against an employee who has committed no wrong.

Small issue with your assessment - it would no be an employment judge.

And again, it's not "legal bullying" - it's a letter asking the former employer to re-affirm what he/she had already signed in their contract of employment.
 
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Newchodge

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Nov 8, 2012
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The letter you describe merely states that you are aware of the confidentiality clause and informs you that, should the employer have reason to believe you breached it, you will confirm that you did not.
Could you put that into coherent English please? How can this letter notify the ex employee of what the ex employee will do? Please get a grip.
 
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fisicx

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Sep 12, 2006
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And again, it's not "legal bullying" - it's a letter asking the former employer to re-affirm what he/she had already signed in their contract of employment.
If they pay me for performing this action then I will sign an affirmation. My fee is £250
 
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Newchodge

Business Member
Nov 8, 2012
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Newcastle
Small issue with your assessment - it would no be an employment judge.

And again, it's not "legal bullying" - it's a letter asking the former employer to re-affirm what he/she had already signed in their contract of employment.
Of course it is legal bullying. The employee may, or may not, have signed a confidentiality agreement. The employee may or may not decide to breach that agreement. If they do so, action may or may not be taken. Demanding, with menaces that the employee sign a 'deed' in connection with this is legal bullying.
 
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