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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 6, 2010 / 29 Kislev, 5771

Can You Keep A Secret?

By Alan Douglas




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Company parties, family gatherings, New Year's Eve confessions, can all be sources of confidential information. But what is really confidential? There are a lot of people who entrust others with their secrets. They expect the information they share to remain a secret. Some of it is gossip, some is venting, some is given while asking for advice, and some is just the desire to talk. Before you share your secrets with another person, you should understand the difference between legally privileged communications that are protected by the law, and what and when that information is not protected. Don't confuse secrets, confidential information, and privileged communications. I can't describe all of these adequately in this column, but I can give you enough information to start you thinking about it BEFORE you speak, or listen, and get yourself in trouble.

You can determine who you trust and who do not trust to pass along what you tell them. The law determines who, what information, and under what circumstances, information can be withheld. It is not easy to pick the "who" part, since it changes. Talk about your taxes and how you cheated the United States government by writing off your vacation as a business expense to your attorney and it is privileged. Express your guilt and sorrow over the transgression to your clergy and it is privileged. Tell it to your accountant and it is not protected. In Europe, rule for accountants are different. In Europe the accountants are so smart that many accounting firms own and control law firms. Therefore, the smart European accountants also are afforded legal privilege for communications with clients. So, if you talk to your attorney, who has an accountant on their staff, it is privileged, even in the United States. Tell your boss or the friendly, concerned Human Resources Manager, or anyone else in the company, something "in confidence" and you might as well shout it from the rooftop. There is no "in confidence" unless a Court says there is. Even Confidentiality Agreements or clauses in contracts meant to keep information confidential, don't hold water unless there is a specific legal provision protecting the people, the type of information, and the circumstances.

The "what" is said, can trip you up. If it is a real threat of a crime, your doctor or psychiatrist may be forced to snitch on you. The rules of religious orders, medical, and legal professions, may impose higher or lower (but different) standards than what you think. Whistle blowers are protected sort of, maybe; under the law. But only if a Whistle Blower blows the whistle in precisely the right way, about the right things. And the courts are still debating what that is.

When speaking to reporters, do not fall into the freedom of the press trap. The privilege to keep things confidential is not generally recognized by the courts. And more importantly, it is the press, the reporter, and their corporate media giant, that is being protected, not you, the source. In addition to the legal media issues, remember that "off the record," much like "beauty", is in the eye of the beholder. Most reporters demand you must play the "Mother May I" game. You have to say, "Off the record" and they have to agree to keep it "Off the record," before you spill your guts. A retroactive, "You can't use my name" or "That is just background" after you told a reporter, is worthless. And even if you and the reporter think it won't get out, do not count on the reporter's editor, a judge, or the reporter's wife keeping your name and information secret.

Lawyers are generally allowed to violate even privileged, protected, information given them by their clients, to defend themselves against charges of wrongdoing, and in an action by the lawyer to collect their fees. So, think twice before you badmouth or stiff your attorney. And if someone else sues your attorney related to their representation of you, be forewarned that your attorney may be able to spill the beans about you.

Be careful not to promise that you won't tell a soul, or that someone's secret is safe with you, when you can't keep your word. Your colleague at work isn't just your friend. You are both employees of an organization. The organization where you earn your living is the same one to which you have a duty of loyalty and legal obligations. When you obtain information, you may be obligated to inform your boss. Learn to stop people who are about to tell you gossip and dangerous secrets. If someone tells you they are stealing, playing with the budget, numbers, or backdating, you may be required to raise the alarm. You may have information of a crime related to fraud, securities violations, or worse, once your friend boasts about getting away with a sordid act. Be prepared to stop them from telling you what you really do not want to know. Remind them that including you in a group sharing toxic information, is like exposing you to radiation.

This isn't to say that you can't tell and listen to secrets. It is to remind you that a secret, confidential information, and privileged communications, are all different based on what, where, how, who, and when you spilled the beans.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

JWR contributor Alan Douglas, an author, media executive, speaker, and attorney, lives con brio- except when he is grumpy.


Previously:

Holiday Card Hazards
Gifts
Sharing, Transparency and Dumping
Red Alert
Readers Respond Regarding Rabbi
Readers: I Need Your Help with my Rabbi
Humphrey Bogart and P. T. Barnum on Fighting with Family and Friends
Columbus, Honors and Hound Dogs
The Free Lunch
When your child suffers
Conversational Transmitted Diseases
Conservative, Liberal or American
Paris, Antarctica and Shopping
Personal Protection
Dispute Resolution
Jumped or Pushed?
Friends and Acquaintances
Revenge and Vindication

© 2010 Alan Douglas

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