(By Laurie Kahn) I want to take a moment to explain the difference between Non-Disclosure Agreement and Non-Competes to alleviate any confusion. Please note, I am not an attorney but have been working with agreements and contracts for many years. While I can share some overviews, it will be essential to understand what your state will enforce and suggest that prior to any of these agreements being put in place, to discuss with a local employment attorney and have them sign off once it is created. The purpose of this article is to educate readers on the differences, how to put an agreement in place, but does not mean to offer legal advice without you confirming your individual needs with a licensed attorney.
Many broadcasters have put Non-Competes in place. A non-compete agreement is a contract wherein an employee promises not to enter into competition of any kind with an employer after the employment period is over. States will vary on how long they can be put in place, most range between 6 months and 24 months. However, be aware that they can be very difficult to enforce as you can’t stop someone from working. You may want to consider more defined language addressing items such as they can’t call on the same accounts for a limited time, etc. Many companies prefer to go with an NDA vs. a Non-Compete.
A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is a legally enforceable contract that establishes confidentiality between two parties—the owner of protected information and the recipient of that information. By signing an NDA, participants agree to protect confidential information shared with them by the other party. In addition to not divulging or releasing the information without consent, the recipient also agrees not to copy, modify, or make use of the information in any way that is not authorized by the owner. A signed NDA form can help you avoid a lot of problems as a business owner. Without a Non-Disclosure Agreement in place, your confidential information can be disclosed publicly or otherwise used by employees, vendors, clients, or anyone else that you share them with. A Non-Disclosure Agreement lets the recipients of your proprietary information know that you expect confidentiality and it authorizes you to take legal action if the contract is violated.
An NDA can cover programming philosophy, sales rates, upcoming promotions or events, compensation and other proprietary information that is not published.
If you choose to put any agreement in place, it is always advisable to have it signed in advance upon acceptance of an offer. It needs to be in place for all employees and not in just one department. If you choose to put any agreement in place, make sure to have it discussed in offer letters that it will be a term of employment to sign such agreements. If you decide to add one at a later date, it needs to be discussed and presented to all current employees for them to sign. Anytime there are updates or revisions, they need to be signed again and kept in their individual employee files.
If a current or prospective employee refuses to sign, you have three choices:
- Let them go (check with your state laws)
- Keep them employed without the signature (not recommended)
- Discuss and make any modifications for you to come to an agreement
If your agreement is reasonable it should not be an issue to sign.
NDA’s can be found in a variety of places. There are numerous firms that sell them online, but again, please discuss with an attorney in your state to review before putting in place.
Laurie Kahn is the creator and founder of Media Staffing Network. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]