Is the Non Disclosure Agreement I entered legal?

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timiop2019
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I am signed into a 100 year non disclosure agreement. I (with hindsight regrettably) agreed to sign it after discovering a project involving jawdroppingly illegal activities was secretly going on at my former place of work.

I straight away reported and questioned what I unintentionally found evidence of on my work computer to my line manager, but shortly after this, was presented with an opportunity to sign an NDA by my managers manager.

The agreement is very technical and wordy, and includes 52 clauses and subclauses over five pages of very small text. It is hard to understand at times, but basically prevents me from talking about any activity which went on there, or they will sue me. Technically, even this forum post is a breach of the NDA, as one of the clauses of the NDA prevents me from revealing to anybody its very existence.

It is clearly intended to cover up the illegal activity which went on there. Is this really allowable these days?
Last edited by timiop2019; 1 year ago
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Catherine1973
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Well I am not a lawyer but generally at work if you sign those sort of agreements you’d expect to receive independent legal advice at same time to make it valid. Paid for by employer.
You’ll have to speak to actual lawyer to get proper advice.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by timiop2019)
I am signed into a 100 year non disclosure agreement. I (with hindsight regrettably) agreed to sign it after discovering a project involving jawdroppingly illegal activities was secretly going on at my former place of work.

I straight away reported and questioned what I unintentionally found evidence of on my work computer to my line manager, but shortly after this, was presented with an opportunity to sign an NDA by my managers manager.

The agreement is very technical and wordy, and includes 52 clauses and subclauses over five pages of very small text. It is hard to understand at times, but basically prevents me from talking about any activity which went on there, or they will sue me. Technically, even this forum post is a breach of the NDA, as one of the clauses of the NDA prevents me from revealing to anybody its very existence.

It is clearly intended to cover up the illegal activity which went on there. Is this really allowable these days?
As above, you usually get independent legal advice ie you hire a solicitor, to read through and agree before you sign an NDA. The employer should pay (or at least, pay a sum towards, if you get expensive legal advice).

If I was you, I'd take it to an employment solicitor now, so that at least you understand it. It shouldn't break the agreement by doing that.
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timiop2019
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(Original post by Catherine1973)
Well I am not a lawyer but generally at work if you sign those sort of agreements you’d expect to receive independent legal advice at same time to make it valid. Paid for by employer.
You’ll have to speak to actual lawyer to get proper advice.
Well that certainly was not made available to me. It was signed by the "Disclosing Party" (my former employer) the "Receiving Party" (me), and a witness. There was no lawyer present or made available to talk to prior to signing the NDA
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timiop2019
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
As above, you usually get independent legal advice ie you hire a solicitor, to read through and agree before you sign an NDA. The employer should pay (or at least, pay a sum towards, if you get expensive legal advice).

If I was you, I'd take it to an employment solicitor now, so that at least you understand it. It shouldn't break the agreement by doing that.
Thanks for your input. I actually signed the NDA well over a year ago, it's just been annoying me more and more lately. I don't really want to spend my own money on taking things further this far down the line. The scale of the whole thing I discovered really is mind blowing. In fact, the company closed the site I worked at not that long after I made the revelation to my manager and in doing so made hundreds of people redundant. I'm not entirely convinced it wasn't just a cover up to sacrifice that site in order to wipe out all evidence of what had been going on there.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by timiop2019)
Thanks for your input. I actually signed the NDA well over a year ago, it's just been annoying me more and more lately. I don't really want to spend my own money on taking things further this far down the line. The scale of the whole thing I discovered really is mind blowing. In fact, the company closed the site I worked at not that long after I made the revelation to my manager and in doing so made hundreds of people redundant. I'm not entirely convinced it wasn't just a cover up to sacrifice that site in order to wipe out all evidence of what had been going on there.
There's no point continuing to fester and build up conspiracy theories. There's either a problem or there isn't. If there isn't then stop dreaming them up. if there is a real problem, either don't do anything about it and stop dreaming up conspiracies, or do something about it, which requires you to understand the NDA and its validity.
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timiop2019
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
There's no point continuing to fester and build up conspiracy theories. There's either a problem or there isn't. If there isn't then stop dreaming them up. if there is a real problem, either don't do anything about it and stop dreaming up conspiracies, or do something about it, which requires you to understand the NDA and its validity.
There is not a problem as such, and I don't intend or need to do anything about it, I just want to discuss it and build up a picture of what others might do in this situation. I currently intend to remain a signed party within the agreement, rather than face the potential of being sued for damages and consequentially financially ruined. As for "dreaming up conspiracy theories", I certainly have not done that as I hold documented evidence to suggest that the site was closed down as a direct cause of my finding and report to management.
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Catherine1973
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Isn’t there a whistleblower helpline? That sort of sounds like what you experienced. You could discuss with them maybe? Explaining the nda as well.
But what do you want to get? Compensation? A fight for justice?
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ANM775
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(Original post by timiop2019)
I am signed into a 100 year non disclosure agreement. I (with hindsight regrettably) agreed to sign it after discovering a project involving jawdroppingly illegal activities was secretly going on at my former place of work.

I straight away reported and questioned what I unintentionally found evidence of on my work computer to my line manager, but shortly after this, was presented with an opportunity to sign an NDA by my managers manager.

The agreement is very technical and wordy, and includes 52 clauses and subclauses over five pages of very small text. It is hard to understand at times, but basically prevents me from talking about any activity which went on there, or they will sue me. Technically, even this forum post is a breach of the NDA, as one of the clauses of the NDA prevents me from revealing to anybody its very existence.

It is clearly intended to cover up the illegal activity which went on there. Is this really allowable these days?
if they were that concerned they got a lawyer to draft up a NDA then they would have been willing to part with some cash too.

I actually can't believe you went and signed that thing without getting something out of it.
What's in it for me? .. I would be asking myself.

They're not going to sack you for not signing it, as you could take them to court and also disclose to everyone what you know

you messed up here dude.....
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