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Employers in Chicago frequently require their employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) prior to being hired. This type of legally binding contract is used as a tool to protect trade secrets. It does so by preventing a previous worker from providing other organizations with access to confidential/proprietary information that may give them a competitive advantage. However, these contracts can be a burden on an individual’s ability to earn a living if the employer unreasonably restricts them from seeking new job opportunities.
Speak with one of our experienced Chicago non-disclosure agreement attorneys at Zoldan Law Group, PLLC, about the specifics of your situation. We can assist you in closely reviewing an NDA before you sign, to ensure that it is fair. Call (312) 980-9992 and receive a free initial consultation.
Nondisclosure agreements can cover a wide range of topics, depending on the type of business. However, there are some common issues that an employer will address and restrict a former employee from doing after they leave a company, such as:
A well-written NDA or confidentiality agreement will be very specific, or else it runs the risk of being invalidated by a judge. Agreements typically last less than two years, restrict unfair competition in a limited geographic region, and cannot place unreasonable limits on an employee’s ability to find work.
There are typically three points during employment when you may be asked to sign an NDA:
You may be asked when you are hired to sign an NDA or confidentiality agreement, to keep the company’s trade secrets or business strategies confidential. An NDA may also limit who you can work for next.
Employers are typically not under any legal obligation to make a severance payment. However, you may be asked to sign an NDA when terminated, in exchange for one. This strategy is designed to prevent you from disclosing the terms of the severance, and possibly that you received one at all. A severance agreement may also limit the conditions under which you can file a lawsuit against the company.
An NDA is often used as a means to keep the terms of a settlement agreement confidential.
If you signed an NDA with your employer, there are options for avoiding the harsh consequences that can occur if you are considering or have been accused of violating the contract. An attorney may be able to help you prove one or all of the following, for example:
If you are accused of being in violation of an NDA, the burden of proof will fall on the employer, and it is high. Retaining a knowledgeable lawyer to represent your interests can help you resolve any disputes as quickly as possible, so you may move on to new employment.
If you or someone you know needs legal advice on a NDA agreement, was wrongfully terminated, is experiencing sexual harassment in a Chicago workplace, race discrimination, or defamation, contact our law firm today. Discuss your individual case with an employment lawyer today in a free consultation, by calling (312) 980-9992 or filling out a contact form online.