Can an employer make employees sign confidentiality agreements prohibiting them from discussing a sexual assault that happened between 2 of thestaff?

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Can an employer make employees sign confidentiality agreements prohibiting them from discussing a sexual assault that happened between 2 of thestaff?

The assault happened outside of work. There was no criminal case as the victim did not press charges and has since quit her job.

Asked on March 23, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it probably can.  As an "at will" employee (that is one that does not have a union/employment contract that prohibits this action or there is no company policy to the contrary), your employer can hire/fire for any reason (or no reason), increase/decrease your salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements on you that it sees fit.  In turn, you can choose to work for your employer or leave.  

Note:  You would also have legal protection is some form of workplace discrimination is a factor. 

Finally, to the extent that charges are later filed in this matter, then employees would be free to speak to the police regarding any investigation.  This is true whether or not a confidentiality agreement is in  place.   


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