The Board recently shot down a confidentiality policy maintained by a California elementary school founded by Hollywood director James Cameron and his wife as being overly broad. The policy prohibited employees from disclosing any information about the school or its owners, students, or employees. It also said that former employees were precluded from making any disparaging remarks about anyone associated with the school in a way that would harm the school’s reputation. Pretty standard stuff, right?
The judge determined the celebrity status of the school’s founders and parents of the students did not trump the employees’ right to discuss their wages, hours, or other terms and conditions of employment. “Muse precludes without limitation, any discussion about any nonpublic information regarding its founders, clients, and employees. Such a broad prohibition, without clarification, could reasonably be construed to include a prohibition on discussing employee wages.” The policy was struck down despite never having been enforced; just maintaining it was unlawful. This ruling makes it very difficult for any celebrity to force its personal assistants or employees of its businesses to maintain confidentiality. I’m sure TMZ has already sent the judge a fruit basket of thanks.