A temporary employment agency that supplied workers to companies in the telecommunications and natural gas industries had the following clause in its temporary employment contracts:
Employee… understands that the terms of this employment, including compensation, are confidential… Disclosure of these terms to other parties may constitute grounds for dismissal.
After an employee was placed with a company named El Paso his paychecks and expense reimbursements were not timely made. He complained not to his employer, but to the person he was contracted to, El Paso, and then El Paso notified the temp agency. That agency then terminated the employee.
The employee filed an unfair labor practice charge and the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the NLRB finding that the confidentiality agreement was too broad. An employee is entitled to certain rights such as engaging in activities concerning their pay and benefits and the confidentiality policy would chill those employee rights if it is not enforceable against the employee under these circumstances.
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