Posted on: Jul 09, 2013
A recent case demonstrates the consequences of breaching an agreed confidentiality provision.
An ex-employee entered into an agreement to settle his personal grievance at mediation. The agreement provided, “These terms of settlement and all matters discussed at mediation shall remain confidential to the parties”. The employee’s workmates (the employee was employed by a new employer) knew he had been to mediation. When the employee returned to work he was alleged to have said, “woohoo, I won my case”, and in response to a question about how much money he had got he said, “compared to the money I’m making here, I’ve got enough to last me till Easter”.
The new employer had issues with the employee and rang the employee’s previous employer for information. In the course of the conversation, the former employer found out about the breach of confidentiality.
The former employer applied to the Employment Relations Authority and asked it to cancel the settlement agreement and for the imposition of a penalty. The Authority stated it had no jurisdiction to cancel a mediated settlement but it ordered the employee to pay a penalty of $750 to the Crown.
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