Companies may primarily intend to protect their confidentiality agreements from the use or disclosure of information in a way that could disadvantage the company from a competitive perspective, but agreements generally go much further when it comes to limiting disclosure. In general, they prevent disclosure not only to employers, competitors and subsequent customers, but more broadly to all outside the company, including law enforcement or other government agencies that investigate the business. The EEOC and the SEC have taken note of this and these agencies consider that any provision that would limit an individual`s ability to contact the Agency or participate in an investigation is invalid. These agencies do not limit their objection to situations in which a person has effectively refused to communicate under a confidentiality agreement that he or she has signed, but to any provision that limits that disclosure or participation to himself, because it can prevent people from coming forward. In order to ensure protection, the employer determines, as far as possible, the field of information covered by the agreement. The agreement rarely identifies certain documents or data that the employee will have access to, but instead contains descriptions and categories of documents and data. The typical definition also defines the information covered so that it contains information that the employee has access to and can access, and contains information and data available at the time of the worker`s signature that the employer will receive or produce in the future. The employer rightly tries to cover as much as possible and strives to do so in a single agreement, so that it does not need to produce a specific version to workers on the basis of the work and access of the person concerned. It is important to distinguish between the obligation of confidentiality of information and a non-competition agreement. This last point is generally not applicable in California, although other states allow such agreements. We are talking about a limitation on the disclosure of confidential information, not a restriction of competition. Intellectual property and trade secrets are assets of extreme value in today`s economy, and while certain types of such properties can be protected by copyrights and patents, much of the world of trade secrets and confidential information is not protected outside of the contractual protection that can be developed.
Confidential information and trade secrets are protected by the proactive efforts of the owner of this property, both in the protection of this property, by keeping it entirely confidential and inaccessible to the public and competitors, as well as by the use of written contracts to impose secrecy on the parties.