Is my employer required to provide a copy of a confidentiality agreement that I signed on my first day to me?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Boston, MA

I am an attorney doing doc review in Boston, and on my first day I signed a confidentiality agreement with the firm where the staffing agency placed me. Months later I asked for a copy of the agreement and a few months after that I was told that the firm does not give out copies of agreements, but I could schedule a time to review it. It seems to me that I can not comply with the agreement if I don't know exactly what it says. Does making the agreement available for review suffice to make it enforceable? I would think I should be provided a copy of it for it to be enforceable. This is an issue because the firm says it would violate the terms of the agreement if I put the name of the firm on my resume.

Additional information

I am not an employee of the law firm, but am what is essentially a temp through a staffing agency. This is doc review. I doubt the staffing agency, which maintains my personnel file even has a copy of the Confidentiality Agreement in question. Does that change the applicability of GL c. 149 Sec 52C? I wouldn't put on my resume that I was employed at the Firm, but that I did contract work for the firm through the staffing agency.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. 7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In Massachusetts, an employer is required pursuant to GL c. 149 Sec 52C to give you a copy of your entire personnel file upon a written request for the file. So make a written request for your entire file, including any agreements you signed. If they don't comply you can file a complaint with the Attorney General.

  2. 4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The question is whether you are an "employee" within the meaning of 149 ch 52C, which defines employee as “a person currently employed or formerly employed by an employer; provided, however, that for purposes of this section, persons who are employed, or were formerly employed, by a private institution of higher education in positions which may lead to tenure, are tenured, or which involve responsibilities similar to those in tenure-track positions, shall not be considered employees." Not helpful. The fact that they won't give you a copy of the agreement doesn't make the agreement unenforceable, but it is surprising, as you would think they would give you a copy as it would be more likely that you would comply with the agreement if you had a copy of it. As a preliminary step, I would ask to review the contract, bring a pad of paper, and copy down what it says. Once you do that, you will be in a better position to figure out the answers to the rest of your questions.

  3. 3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You're not an employee at that law firm - you are employed the Temp agency or doc review agency. Putting the law firm's name on your resume is not appropriate.

  4. 2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The second rule of lawyering (after the first rule:
    get your money up-front) is ALWAYS GET COPIES
    OF EVERYTHING. You shouldn't have signed it
    without them (or you) walking over to the copy
    machine and making a copy. I get tired of hearing
    about these "smarmy" corporations always playing
    games with the employees. Forget your resume
    and start your own solo law firm. You'll be much
    better off than those corporate "stuffed-shirt"
    attorneys. Good luck!


Related Topics


Employment law governs employee pay, non-discrimination policies, employment classifications, and hiring and firing at the federal, state, and local levels.

Employment forms

Employment forms are the documents and forms used in the workplace to determine eligibility for work, pay wages and benefits, arrange tax withholding, and more.

Avvo advisor logo@2x

Need an answer to your questions within 15 minutes?

  • 15-minute phone call
  • Ask any questions
  • $39 flat fee
  • Money-back guarantee
Talk to an attorney now

Can't find what you're looking for?

Ask span5@2x

Ask a question on our public forum.

Ask a lawyer
Advisor span6@2x

Have an attorney contact you privately.

Right now.

Icon lock@2x
Secure conversation. Your details remain between you and your attorney.
Icon clock@2x
Get an answer guaranteed. Be assured that a lawyer will contact you to help with your legal issue.
Start your session now