Confidentiality Obligation of the Employees and the Employee Representatives in the Change Negotiations
In the context of the change negotiation, matters that need to be kept confidential for the company's operations or the employee's privacy may also be discussed. Therefore, there are confidentiality provisions in the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings.
An employee, an employee representative and an expert referred have to keep confidential information obtained in connection with the change negotiations:
information relating to the employer’s trade secrets;
information relating to the employer’s financial position, which is not public according to other legislation and dissemination of such information would probably be prejudicial to the employer or any of their business partners or contracting parties;
information relating to the security of the undertaking and the corresponding security system, the dissemination of such information would probably be prejudicial to the employer or any of their business partners or contracting parties; and
information relating to the health, financial situation, and other personal data of an individual, i.e., an employee.
An equivalent confidentiality obligation concerns the position of the employee representative in company administration in the company´s institution unless the confidentiality obligation of the members or deputy members of the institution in question has been separately otherwise agreed.
The condition for confidentiality is that the employer has informed the employee, or employee representative or expert of what information shall be considered as trade secrets and indicated that the information regarding company’s financial status and business security is confidential. It is not necessary to separately inform employees that information relating to personal matters is confidential.
The employee or an employee representative may disclose confidential information to other employees or their representatives to the extent necessary due to the role of the said employees in realizing the purpose of co-operation. The employee and the employee representative shall inform their confidentiality obligation to their employees or the representatives. Thereafter also the above-mentioned parties are obligated to confidentiality.
The confidentiality obligation shall continue during the entire duration of the contract of employment of the employee and the employee representative and the expert. If it is necessary to keep confidentiality valid also after the employment relationship, it is recommendable to agree upon that separately.
Breaching confidentiality is punishable under the Criminal Code of Finland. Deliberate breach of confidentiality is also often the basis of termination or cancellation of the employment contract.