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

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.

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


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.

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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.

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1 comment

Alex R. Hess

Alex R. Hess


By the way, putting this information on AVVO is a sure-fire way to get a potential application flagged, or notify the firm about your intent. AVVO is a public forum - think before you post.


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!


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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.

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