In the dialogue and the change negotiations, it is often necessary to discuss also confidential information. Confidentiality provisions may be used to protect both employer-related matters and employees’ privacy when necessary.
The confidentiality provisions of the Act on Co-operation only apply to information that is received in connection with the dialogue and the change negotiations and that is indicated as confidential.
The confidentiality obligation applies equally to the employee representative, an individual employee and an expert.
First of all, confidential information includes trade secrets. Trade secrets may include, among other things, technical information about methods, software, production volumes, formulas, customer registers and working methods. Financial secrets, such as information about the company’s agreements, marketing or pricing policies, are also trade secrets.
Information relating to the employer’s financial position, which is not public according to other legislation, is also confidential as is information relating to the security of the company and the corresponding security system.
In addition, confidential information encompasses information about a person’s state of health, financial situation or other personal details, related to the protection of privacy.
It is the employer’s task to indicate which information they consider confidential and inform employees, employee representatives or experts of this.
At the same time, the employer must explain the confidentiality obligation. An employee or an employee representative cannot be assumed to know which information is considered a trade secret and which not.
The confidentiality obligation lasts for the entire duration of the employment contract. Consequently, the employee representative’s confidentiality obligation continues still after the end of their role as a representative.
If the confidentiality obligation of the members or deputy members of the body in question is not otherwise subject to separate provisions, the confidentiality provisions of the Act on Co-operation also apply to the employees’ administrative representative when they act in the company’s administrative bodies. If employee representation in company administration takes place in the company’s Board of Directors, for example, the confidentiality obligation and criminal liability are primarily determined on the basis of legislation applicable to Board members.