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Non-Disclosure Agreement coming with employment contracting territory?

March 11, 2014


Question:

Jennifer, 

A prospective employer asked me to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement before giving me my employment contract.  Is that normal?  Should I have it reviewed also?

Thanks, 
Dr. K

Answer:

No, that is not normal, however, not unheard of.  Typically employers utilize a  non-disclosure agreement where they may be sharing proprietary information related to the practice.  A standard employment agreement does not usually have proprietary information, unless a bonus structure for some reason is crafted in a way to reflect current profits, or possibly information is in the document that may not pass the smell test and the employer wants the terms confidential.  Another scenario where a non-disclosure may appear is if partnership terms may appear in your employment agreement; maybe the practice is interested in maintaining confidentiality of the terms.  

Regardless of the reason, a non-disclosure agreement in and of itself is not a reason to pass on a potential job, nor is it a document  you should sign without having reviewed.  So, nothing to scoff at, or brush off.  The terms of the non-disclosure itself may vary, and while oftentimes drafted mutually and innocuously to protect information one party may not have known about the other, there is an opportunity for a drafting party to "pad" the terms and put potentially harmful language in a non-disclosure you may wish you had reviewed with your healthcare attorney.  

Whether the particular non-disclosure you are asking about is potentially harmful depends on its terms.  Send it over and we can discuss offline. 


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