Sticks and Stones: Non-Disparagement Clauses

June 01, 2023

Do you remember when you first heard the following:  “Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones, But Names Will Never Hurt You”.  Well, that isn’t always true.  You can thank Attorney’s for that one (yes, I am making fun of myself and our profession).

Non-disparagement clauses essentially protect a company from having a former employee or owner go out and blast them publicly.  Even if what is said is true, if it hurts the company and they can prove damages, then they can enforce a non-disparagement clause.

Also remember, this is not libel, slander or defamation, it is non-disparagement (i.e., you can’t say bad things regardless of their truth).  The exceptions to enforcement of this clause are primarily if a government agency is conducting an investigation and telling the former employee or owner that they must provide the information.  Outside of that, if a former employee or owner says something negative, the company can go after them for damages.

If you have questions about this clause and its enforceability, please make sure you consult with your business legal counsel.  I will leave you with this final thought about non-disparagement clauses:  “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”

Happy Memorial Day and thanks to all who serve, served or gave their life serving.

Here are a few other things that may be of interest:

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