Damages awarded for breach of confidentiality

IMGP2033Most mediation agreements provide that the process is confidential. And parties will often agree that the terms of their settlement are to remain confidential too.

What is the remedy if someone breaches mediation confidentiality?

In a recent decision of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, a party to a settlement who breached confidentiality received a $1000 penalty.

In Tremblay v. 1168531 Ontario Inc., the parties reached a settlement in mediation. One of the terms of the settlement was that its terms would be kept confidential. However, one of the parties (the employee) posted comments on facebook about the mediation process and its outcome, in breach of the confidentiality provisions.

The employer then refused to make the settlement payment and asked the Tribunal to declare the entire settlement void. The Tribunal agreed that the employee violated confidentiality and reduced her settlement by $1000— but required the employer to pay the rest.

So— confidentiality clauses have teeth! And be careful what you post on facebook!!