A former employee who told his daughter about a confidential settlement agreement with his employer breached the agreement and forfeited his right to the money, ruled a Florida appeals court. An age discrimination lawsuit by the employee was eventually settled with an agreement that included a strict confidentiality clause. After the settlement was reached, Mr. Snay, the former employee, told his college-age daughter that his case “was settled and he was happy with the result.” The daughter posted on Facebook that “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”
The employee didn’t revoke his settlement within the required seven-day revocation period under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and Gulliver, the former employer, refused to pay the settlement proceeds of $80,000. The appeals court found that the confidentiality language was clear and unambiguous and that the dad’s disclosure to the daughter constituted a breach (Gulliver Schools Inc. v. Snay, Fl App, Feb. 2014).
Tips: Although not all breaches of confidentiality agreements will be so easy to prove as a Facebook post, make sure your settlement agreements are clear about expectations and the consequences for a breach. This agreement was clear that if there was a breach the employee would be required to disgorge (give up) his portion of the settlement proceeds. Contact your Vigilant staff representative for assistance in drafting settlement agreements.
This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.