Widespread coverage of Sir Martin Sorrell's abrupt departure from advertising giant WPP is a timely reminder for all employers managing difficult and particularly high profile exits and non-disclosure agreements, says Ogier counsel Rachel Richardson.
With remuneration of up to £48 million per year and the profile that goes along with being the longest-serving chief executive of any FTSE 100 company, Sir Martin's case is an extreme example – but, says Rachel, there are lessons from the matter for a range of employers.
Exit negotiations and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are common among financial services providers, including those based offshore, and increasingly used in other sectors too.
Rachel said: "Fundamentally, exit negotiations and NDAs are commercial agreements between parties to ensure that confidential information is kept private.
"Some information such as proprietary data or client lists are protected without the need for a formal NDA.
"Always take care when negotiating and drafting agreements and seek advice where unsure – the more clearly the agreement describes the information being protected the better, to reduce future uncertainty.
"Agreements can also be one-way or mutually-effective, and must be signed on behalf of an employer by a director or an individual with the power to bind the company."
Rachel, who has spent more than ten years practicing as an employment lawyer in Guernsey, specialises in both contentious and non-contentious aspects of employment law and acts for both employers and employees in negotiating and drafting exit agreements and NDAs.
She and senior associate Daniel Read from Ogier's Jersey employment law team will be leading a seminar on exits, NDAs and restrictive covenants in July, running through best practice and recent case law.