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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12945
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I am being accused of breaching confidentiality by talking

Customer Question

I am being accused of breaching confidentiality by talking negatively about my employer and asking people to not send them business. Not true. Do they need to provide me with evidence? They refuse to tell me the source of information.
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager, HR, or an attorney?
Customer: HR is meeting with me tomorrow. It is a small company.
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: at will state I am a contract employee
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I wish to know if I have the right to ask them for written evidence.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 12 months ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** it will be my pleasure to assist you. Please just give me a moment to review your question....

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 12 months ago.

Anyone can accuse anyone of anything, so your employer does not need evidence to make an allegation. However, if they were to actually sue you in court for breach of contract they would bear the burden of proof that you actually violated the confidentiality agreement. They would need to convince a jury by a preponderance of the evidence that this is what happened.

So, at your meeting tomorrow you can certainly ask for evidence, but you would not at this point in time have any legal entitlement to know whatever evidence they have or don't have. Only if you are actually sued would you have a legal right to know what they were basing their claim on.

If I can clarify anything at all for you, please do not hesitate to ask. It is my pleasure to assist you further if necessary....

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Can they fire me for allegations? Also, must they provide me with the source of information? I want to be prepared tomorrow for my meeting. I am not worried about being sued because they don't have the evidence since I did not do this.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 12 months ago.

Unfortunately, employment in all states but Montana is purely "at will" absent an express agreement to the contrary. At will employment can be terminated for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or even TRUE.

So, technically this means you could be fired if your employer wants to fire you. It also means they don't have to provide the source of their information or for that matter any actual justification for their decision. If your employer does not want to continue employing you they are not legally forced to continue employing you. What this means is that you really need to work with your employer here and persuade them that the allegations are untrue and should not warrant termination. Although employers have great freedom when it comes to termination decisions, it does them no good to fire an employee without a compelling reason, so most employers are open to hearing what an employee has to say in response to allegations of misconduct and most employers will show the employee what evidence of misconduct they have even though the employer is not legally required to do this.

Again if there is anything more I can do for you just let me know. It's my pleasure....

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
thank you.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 12 months ago.

You are very welcome. Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service (using the stars at the top of the page) so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Very best wishes.