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  • FIRST POST
    • mell242
    • By mell242 16th May 18, 5:49 PM
    • 136Posts
    • 49Thanks
    mell242
    Breach of confidentiality question?
    • #1
    • 16th May 18, 5:49 PM
    Breach of confidentiality question? 16th May 18 at 5:49 PM
    Hi,
    I have just met with my employer regarding a breach of confidentiality which they say I have made. I discussed with a partner company who have an interest in ours the new strategic plan. I was not told this was confidential. The document did not say so on it, nor the accompanying email.

    I did not forward the whole document to them, just the information which affects myself via email.

    What classes something as confidential? The next step is it going to HR for an investigation.

    I don't think we have a confidentiality policy either.
Page 2
    • BoGoF
    • By BoGoF 16th May 18, 8:28 PM
    • 3,137 Posts
    • 2,412 Thanks
    BoGoF
    So as everyone has said....a department closing is a confidential matter.
    • mell242
    • By mell242 16th May 18, 8:50 PM
    • 136 Posts
    • 49 Thanks
    mell242
    Thank you for all your information. I will act as I have done throughout. Turn up to all meetings I'm asked to attend and at the end of the day I will be leaving regardless. I just wanted to clarify confidential information when it doesn't say confidential and you have been told your stakeholders are aware. I don't think they ever were aware and thats the issue.
    • KiKi
    • By KiKi 16th May 18, 11:59 PM
    • 4,957 Posts
    • 8,043 Thanks
    KiKi
    My personal take on it is that you had reason to believe it wasn't confidential, as you were told they were aware of the plan. Equally, you were asked to review something which was inaccurate, and so it was important it was corrected.

    However! Whilst I don't agree that 'of course' strategic plans are confidential (every organisation I have ever worked with has published them, and strategic plans are usually well known to competitors as well), I do think there needs to be an element of common sense in which elements of it you share, and when. A department being made redundant *could* be sensitive if it has implications for partner organisations, workload, governance, relationships, brand perception etc. Therefore it's the sort of thing that - whilst the plan may not be completely confidential - I'd have checked it was okay to share, before sharing outside the organisation. Equally, financial information would be in that category - I wouldn't share it outside the organisation until I was certain that was okay to do it, as that could have significant ramifications for a business.

    However, I don't think they could argue breach of confidentiality - you were told it had been shared, it turns out there were two plans, and you were asked to check a document which was incorrect so you corrected it. I think they could argue breach of common sense, though. Personally, I'd just be apologetic, explain the situation, and leave it there. You'll be leaving anyway!
    ' <-- See that? It's called an apostrophe. It does not mean "hey, look out, here comes an S".
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 17th May 18, 10:03 AM
    • 2,669 Posts
    • 3,816 Thanks
    ReadingTim
    Just because it didn't say "confidential"/"top secret" (or whatever) on the front, it shows a pretty spectacular lapse of judgement to do what you did.

    Furthermore, whilst everyone makes mistakes from time to time, this could be the sort of "mistake" which questions basic competence - especially from a 15+ year employee. Ignorance is no defence.
    • shortcrust
    • By shortcrust 17th May 18, 12:17 PM
    • 1,898 Posts
    • 2,776 Thanks
    shortcrust
    Oh my god.

    If I were your boss you'd already be out of the building. I'm beyond amazed that you can't see how serious this is.
    • robatwork
    • By robatwork 17th May 18, 2:05 PM
    • 4,290 Posts
    • 4,698 Thanks
    robatwork
    You're coming at this from the angle:

    Everything we are told or sent as part of our jobs is OK to discuss outside the company unless marked as confidential

    Everyone else on this thread is thinking:

    Everything we are told or sent as part of our jobs is confidential unless marked as able to be disclosed outside the company

    Which position seems more reasonable to you?
    • Lungboy
    • By Lungboy 17th May 18, 2:13 PM
    • 1,370 Posts
    • 1,314 Thanks
    Lungboy
    You're coming at this from the angle:

    Everything we are told or sent as part of our jobs is OK to discuss outside the company unless marked as confidential

    Everyone else on this thread is thinking:

    Everything we are told or sent as part of our jobs is confidential unless marked as able to be disclosed outside the company

    Which position seems more reasonable to you?
    Originally posted by robatwork
    That seems a bit of a misrepresentation of the OP's position, which sounds more like

    "I was told our partner company were aware of the plan so I corrected what i saw as an error in their report."
    • AstroTurtle
    • By AstroTurtle 18th May 18, 9:55 AM
    • 142 Posts
    • 518 Thanks
    AstroTurtle
    My guess is they were going to share the information when the time was right for your company. Now you have let the horse out the door to early an they could be on the end of financial and reputational loss.

    You've effectively shown your companies hand before the cards were dealt and their partners could now be reacting by cancelling orders/not paying invoices/restricting services under the assumption your company make be going under if it's under difficulty.

    You say you've worked there 15 years? My second guess would be they are trying to say bye bye to your redundancy money by dismissing you for gross misconduct.
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