Mr. Steels filed a lawsuit against the duchy, which was later settled. Under COT3 (a conciliation agreement used to settle labour law), the Duchy agreed to pay him £15,500 in 47 weekly instalments of £330 for the full and final settlement of his legal claims. There was a confidentiality clause that required Mr. Steels not to disclose the fact and terms of the agreement, as well as a guarantee that he had not already done so. Within a few months of discovering that it had communicated to a former colleague the fact and amount of the transaction, the Duchy closed the weekly payments. Mr. Steels was entitled to the recovery of the unpaid sums. If you work in a regulated industry, you can speak with one of our lawyers for legal advice specific to your transaction agreement.
The High Court ruled that an employer remains legally required to pay the remaining amounts due in connection with a COT3 transaction, dethough the worker breached a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement. This decision does not create a new law, but is a useful reminder of the contractual framework within which these agreements operate. Most privacy conditions show that they do not prevent an employee from disclosing information (even confidential information) that they must disclose legally. The High Court found that the term of confidentiality was not a condition of the contract, as it is not a priority for either party; Rather, it was a generic clause that is often taken for granted in settlement agreements. As such, the Duchy was not entitled to withhold any unpaid debts paid to Mr Steel. Another approach is to define precisely in the agreement what happens when an employee fails to comply with his or her confidentiality obligations, with a portion of the transaction indemnity being reimbursable depending on the seriousness of the violation. Such formulations, however, can be difficult to formulate and negotiate over time. In any case, it can be difficult to recover money from a former employee as soon as the transaction amount has been overmedified. Normally, you can discuss with your spouse or partner and legal counsel the existence, terms and circumstances of the settlement agreement. This exception usually depends on whether your spouse/partner agrees to keep the information confidential.