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Do they have to provide a copy of my NDA?

Discussion in 'Employment Contracts & Work Policies' started by Jimmy1981, Jun 28, 2021.

  1. Jimmy1981

    Jimmy1981 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    Hello,

    I have been working at the same company since 2007. I signed an NDA when I first joined, but I didn't think to ask for a copy of it for my records. And, they took it away rather quickly after I signed, without offering to give me a copy.

    Now, I am considering applying to jobs at other companies, but they require a copy of my NDA. The first time I asked for it, my employer said they couldn't do it, because HR was working remotely 100% of the time due to COVID policies. Since they were able to do their jobs remotely, they weren't allowed to come on-site.

    But now, they are allowed back on site, so they could get it.

    My question is: are they legally obligated to provide me with a copy of it?

    Thank you.
     
  2. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Connecticut law requires that, upon your WRITTEN request, you must be permitted to see and, if you like, copy, your personnel file. So if we assume that the NDA is in your personnel file, yes.

    Chapter 563a - Personnel Files

    The link spells out the specifics. I could find no specific reference to NDA's.

    However, I will warn you; the last time I was responsible for personnel files at a company that required NDA's, they were NOT stored in the personnel files. We were a small company of 120 employees and I had a single folder with 120 NDA's in it.

    I would also just like to remind you, since this is an element that escapes a lot of people, an NDA relates to keeping company information and trade secrets to yourself. It is NOT the same thing as a non-compete agreement.
     
    Michael Wechsler likes this.
  3. Jimmy1981

    Jimmy1981 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks very much. And I do have a non-compete agreement with them, not an NDA (that is what I meant to say).

    One more question: if I send them an email, would that count as a written request?
     
  4. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    I don't know what, if any, decisions CT has made as to that. To be safe, I'd stick to old fashioned paper and pen.

    Also, my NDA's and the non-compete's that our source of funding insisted upon were stored together - again, not in the personnel file. By all means check, but if it's not in the personnel file I could not find anything that would compel them to give you a copy.
     
  5. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Have you asked HR again?
     
  6. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I was thinking exactly along the same likes as @cbg regarding a non-compete! Most non-disclosure agreements are not invasive although they can be poorly drafted and create problems.

    It is possible that some documents in hard copy may only be kept on the premises. During COVID-19, a friend of mine called me about an issue she had with a law firm that manages wills, trusts and estates. The lawyer mentioned they faced some document production challenges during COVID-19 because not all were not scanned. (The document was produced by another law firm and tendered to them, I was surprised that the document wasn't scanned and I told my friend to get another firm! Good luck with your issue.
     
  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    If you learn nothing else in your life time, learn and remember this: NEVER sign anything without getting a copy. Either make sure there are duplicates in front of you, sign both and keep one. Or take out your camera phone before letting go of the signed document.
     
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  8. Jimmy1981

    Jimmy1981 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Not yet. It's a weird situation - several people are leaving the company within the next couple of weeks, and a lot of restructuring is going on.

    Last time, they asked me why I wanted a copy of it - which was a bit uncomfortable. I basically said "oh, no reason", or something along those lines.

    Do you think that asking for your non-compete would raise red flags & potentially make you more likely to be laid off?
     
  9. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    As an employer, I can tell you that it absolutely would raise flags.

    If you're planning to leave anyway, then why would you worry about that?
     
  10. Jimmy1981

    Jimmy1981 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Leaving would be contingent on getting a job offer first.
     
  11. Jimmy1981

    Jimmy1981 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    To elaborate: I had some initial interviews with another company. But, their policy is that they can't proceed to the next round of interviews without a copy of my non-compete.

    They followed up several times asking for it, which is why I do think that they are genuinely interested. But it's not a slam dunk that I would get the job.

    This all happened nearly 6 months ago, but I just checked & they have the exact same job posted again.
     
  12. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    There is no way that any of us can predict if your request for a copy of the non-compete would trigger a layoff.
     
  13. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Can you afford to live on UI and savings while looking for another job? Yes? No? Unfortunately, either way, you don't have much choice but to insist on a copy. If you have to say you are looking to advance with other employment, so be it. You can always say that it's not enforceable if you don't have a copy. That's wrong, of course, but middle managers are often too stupid to know better. If you meet resistance, put it in writing to your boss's boss. Your days are numbered there anyway.

    PS. Don't ever sign a non-compete again, even if it means not getting the job. It's a killer. Been there.
     
  14. Jimmy1981

    Jimmy1981 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the advice everybody.

    Yes, I could live on UI & savings for quite a while if I had to. Plus, in the event of a layoff I would get a pretty good severance package. So it wouldn't be the worst outcome in the world.

    At some point, I will send a request for my personnel file, without specifically mentioning the non-compete. It sounds like this definitely would not be a fireable offense, since I am legally entitled to the file. If it leads to a layoff, well, then that's their loss.

    Unfortunately, in my industry it is pretty much impossible to get a job without a non-compete. I really hope that the US will legislate a ban on non-competes someday. They're bad for workers and bad for the economy overall.
     
  15. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    There are states that have specific restrictions on them, such as California below. Generally they are to be enforced in favor of the employee, so that anything unduly harsh is not enforceable. (Unfortunately I know this doesn't give employees peace of mind they need since no one wants to have a "probably" as an answer, certainly not potential new employers.)

    BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE - BPC DIVISION 7. GENERAL BUSINESS REGULATIONS [16000 - 18001]

    PART 2. PRESERVATION AND REGULATION OF COMPETITION [16600 - 17365]

    CHAPTER 1. Contracts in Restraint of Trade [16600 - 16607]

    16600.
    Except as provided in this chapter, every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void.
     

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