The duty of confidentiality can be a little confusing. Confidentiality means not telling other people things your principal doesn’t want disclosed or that would be harmful to the principal if disclosed. Obviously, the duty of confidentiality can conflict with the duty of honesty and disclosure. Fortunately, the duty of confidentiality does not require the agent to be dishonest or unethical in order to protect their client.

In Oregon, “confidential information” is defined by statute ORS 696.800(3). Confidentiality is a specific statutory duty in Oregon and is discussed at length in the Statutory Agency Duties section of this topic. The common law idea of confidentiality is basically the same as in the statute in that it simply requires the agent to hold in confidence any information entrusted to the agent by the principal, unless the law requires it disclosed or client wants it disclosed.
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