How NOT to use an Oklahoma nondisclosure agreement

I have written about Oklahoma nondisclosure agreements and how businesses can and should use nondisclosure agreements with employees to protect confidential information.  The goal, in my opinion, is for a non-disclosure agreement to allow an Oklahoma business to protect information that gives it a competitive advantage over it competitors.

There is another use of nondisclosure agreements that morally wrong and legally perilous:  Using a nondisclosure agreement to cover up illegal or immoral actions.  An example is how formerly famous and now infamous movie producer Harvey Weinstein used nondisclosure agreements: 

To silence people who he had harassed and to silence people who knew about Weinstein’s harassment, essentially covering up his evil acts. 

Essentially, Weinstein used a proper legal tool-the nondisclosure agreement, to cover up his illegal and immoral conduct, allowing the conduct to continue for years unchallenged.

Mr. Weinstein’s gross misuse of the nondisclosure agreement is detailed by PBS in its Frontline series in What Happens If Someone Breaks a Non-Disclosure Agreement?

“We were not allowed to speak to anybody obviously, friends, family, press, public, private, about the alleged behavior, but also about our time at Miramax,” Zelda Perkins, a former assistant to Weinstein, said in an interview for the FRONTLINE documentary Weinstein. “This wasn’t a normal confidentiality agreement. This wasn’t us saying that we weren’t gonna, you know, give away corporate secrets. This was a deeply, personally binding agreement.”

Nicole Einbinder did excellent work demonstrating how one can misuse a tool that I recommend Oklahoma employers use for legitimate purposes.  You can check out the Frontline episode here:

WEINSTEIN

 

 

 

Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Cazes Roberts, PLLC in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with wife Amy and my two children, Sam (17) and David (9). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."