Non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, are legally binding contracts that establish confidential relationships.
For most people, it’s not a big deal. NDAs are often signed at the start or end of an employment opportunity or during a sale of a product or technology you own. They mainly protect creative, business, or intellectual properties.
However, another function of NDAs is to guarantee silence on more high profile or nefarious events. For example, Stormy Daniels was asked to sign an NDA so that events that transpired between her and former president, Donald Trump, would be kept a secret. In most cases like these, the person who signs the NDA also gets a sum of money for their cooperation.
In these cases, the reason for the NDA is usually wild.
Curious about these wild reasons, Redditor gabz09 asked:
“People no longer bound by their non-disclosure agreements, what can you now disclose?”
That Didn't Work Out
"I disclosed to a minority partner that the majority partner owed him 100k. He could have easily received a check for that amount, but he sued for 700k, spent 300k on a lawyer and got nothing."
"Ha...I saw the owner of a company I worked for do the same thing. A sales employee sued for not getting proper commissions and the CEO easily paid 10 times that amount fighting it in court...only to lose and have to pay anyways. Spite!
"Not me but my cousin. He was working his first job in Marketing in one of the top marketing firms in the country. My cousin is ridiculously good looking, used to be a model for A&F( not just the local store models, but one of the national models) and dresses well. So he get to the job and his bosses boss (male) starts hitting on him ridiculously. He's invited to lunch, dinner asked if he wants to go to the bosses weekend home, all the time turning him down. One time in the car his boss told him how quickly he would advance if he spent the weekend with him, and my cousin recorded the entire conversation. He nopes the boss and then ghost him on invites for weeks until the boss stops asking. Fast forward to three months after he's hired and he's doing his review with HR and his immediate supervisor is there. He starts to hear about how he's not a good fit, not a team player etc."
"They let him know they were terminating him, and he grabbed the paperwork they wanted him to sign and put it in his pocket. Then he pulled out his phone and played his bosses recording. After he was done, he looked at the HR manager and asked if she had anything to say. They both left the room acting shell shocked and he stayed there in the conferoom until the HR manager came back an hour later. She put her boss on the conference line and they started telling him it was illegal to record private conversations, they would file charges etc. He laughed and told them he would go to the press, and that he knows they would love to put him on TV. Three days later he as signing a nondisclosure and picking up a check almost big enough to pay for his three years of law school. For anyone wondering, no the guy who harassed him was not fired, and he has since been promoted again by the company."
Don't Believe Everything You Read
"The book you're reading might only be a "bestseller" because the author had enough money to buy thousands and thousands of copies, have them shipped to a warehouse for storage, and eventually destroyed."
"Always wondered how sh*tty books were on the NYTBSL and who was buying them..."
"Given the fact that a book I'm reading right now is labeled as a "Bestseller" reads like a sixth grader wrote it, I wouldn't be surprised"
This Is How Games Fall Apart
"Technically, I'm still bound by the NDA, but the company didn't know how to write NDAs. It's like they had the following conversation:"
"Hey, we need an NDA just like all these other companies have!"
"Do you know how to write an NDA?"
"The NDA was for a roleplaying game that I signed up to playtest with the group. The NDA itself actually forbade me -- the person running the game and providing feedback to the company -- from talking about it, but had no such restrictions in place for anyone I ran the game for. It only required me to sign it, not any of my players. The way it was written, I was not allowed to play the game with any of the players in the group. How they expected anyone to playtest the game, I don't know."
"The way that RPG playtests are supposed to happen is:"
- "the company releases a playtest document,"
- "people play it, and then"
- "they make changes for another round of playtesting."
"What actually happened is the company changed the core resolution mechanic of the game in the middle of the first round of testing (in the middle of a long message forum thread), based on the feedback of people who were openly admitting they only read the rules and hadn't actually played the game."
"One of the people who stated they hadn't played the game also said he didn't have a group of players they were going to play it with."
"So they changed the game based on nothing but feedback from people who hadn't tested anything."
"To top it off, after my group actually played the game and submitted feedback we weren't invited back to the second round of playtesting."
"Also we were left off the playtest credits."
This Is Disappointing
"I worked at a small bakery in New York City when I was younger. Every morning the bakery would take their day old cup cakes and deliver them to a tour company that did Sex and the City tours. The tour company would pass our cupcakes off as cupcakes from Magnolia, and significantly much more popular bakery."
The Secret Has Been Revealed
"The secret ingredient in Jimmy John’s tuna salad is Kikkoman’s Soy Sauce"
"I make my tuna with soy sauce now. I only worked there for a short time, so I was never allowed to make the tuna. But a friend that worked with me told me the recipe. They’re funny with their NDAs."
– Deleted User
My Pretzels Shall Be The Same!
"When i was fired from Auntie Anne's in 2010, I signed a 10 year non-compete/NDA contract, promising not to detail the baking secrets or work for another pretzel establishment."
"Well that ended this year so now I can run out and start a pretzel store because the secret I was keeping was making pretzels literally requires 2 products, one of them being water and the other a large bag of pretzel meal/dust/powder. Quite literally anyone with $2500 can start a pretzel stand and make perfectly fine pretzels, it's not difficult whatsoever."
"Edit: I signed the letter when I was hired but I got a copy with my termination letter."
It Could Be Worse
"I used to work for a large gas station chain."
"I worked at its warehouse where it creates a lot of the donuts. The room was really hot so we were always sweating. There’s some machines where the donuts get glazed in chocolate. They’re these small machines they look almost like a bbq grill. They always wanted us to be super fast glazing the donuts. Working in a hot room and working at super fast speeds it was natural for a lot of peoples sweat to just drip in the chocolate underneath us. Never eat the chocolate donuts from a gas station"
"Honestly if the worst thing in those donuts is human sweat, I'm impressed."
Knowledge Should Be Shared
"I was a contractor for NASA. I still fully support the agency, but I was extremely bugged when I learned that each separate NASA center (e.g., JPL, Kennedy, Ames, Goddard) hides many of its inventions and breakthroughs from the other centers so that when HQ is ready to assign a big mission (and a lot of dollars) to one center, they have a better chance to compete over the others. “Look what we invented! Ames can’t do this over there! Give us the next moon orbiter!”"
"The downside is that there is a ton of reinvention and duplicated efforts going on. Sometimes years of work go down the drain when another center does the same thing faster. My perspective was: you all work for NASA. Share knowledge, collaborate. I was frequently ordered to tone down anything revealing when speaking to other centers."
Reasons To Stop Eating Out
"We re-used buffet style food served in a cafeteria that we're supposed to compost and record as waste. The health inspector says anything that's left open buffet style and serve yourself can't be taken back and repurposed because it's not monitored and could be cross contaminated or many other things (nobody should ever eat buffet style if avoidable fyi) but the fortune 500 company I worked for was unhappy about the money they were losing by composting the food so they make us keep it and re-serve it later or repurpose it into soup or casserole or something. Personally I never did this and just waited for my boss to leave and compost the food but others I worked with were too worried about losing their jobs to go against orders."
Let's Go To The Movies
"I was on a preview panel for Sony's "The Interview" film and it came up as a random task through a portal I was on. The NDA was basicly not to disclose the contents of footage we seen or replicate it until release. For some reason they allowed us to see each other's responses, so if you agreed with someone else and did not want to type in same thing, you just added to theirs."
"And here is where the fun begins :) . Sony asked us only about how a) sympathetic and relatable main characters were, b) was the film funny in a tasteful way and c) was it horribly racist and insensitive to people living under a dictator. As you might have expected - answers were all long ranty critiques or pure wtf!? and I mostly picked those others made as had nothing to add. Characters were shite, plot was shite, whole film was shite. The whole panel was 300 people but I know they repeated it thrice in UK. We were the last one."
"You all know what happened few days after that - Sony had a dubious security breach by evil, North Korean hackers. There was no hackers. It was their desperate marketing for when they finally re-release the film, someone will watch it."
"None of that is really secret but most do not mention those preview panels being just before their stunt."
"Technically the gag order was directed at my mom but she's dead now and I dgaf."
"The Burger King in Hendersonville, Tennessee had a MASSIVE mouse infestation in the mid 2000's. Management had begged corporate multiple times to pay for exterminators and massive repairs. They refused to justify the expense. The managers were told to buy mousetraps at the store using petty cash funds."
"A few employees took pictures of a mouse that had crawled into a bag of buns and died. When corporate found out, they fired everyone who'd worked that shift and hit them with gag orders forbidding anyone from sharing or discussing the mouse infestation."
"My mom was one of those staff members."
"The same branch also told their management to go ahead and sell chicken that had sat out at room temperature all night due to a broke freezer and tried to con an underage employee out of worker's comp for an injury by back-adjusting his clock out time."
"Seriously fuck Burger King."
If The Shoe Fits
"I worked for a certain company that sells shoes and has been using a warehouse format for years. I worked for them just a little over a year and during that time, I learned quite a lot of the process you don’t want to think about."
"This company would buy shoes from other low prices retailers (not uncommon) however these shoes were not properly stored and workers were meant to sort through them, without proper protection, for mold, discoloring, signs of heavy use and whatnot. It was so bad that when the “good” shoes had been sorted out they left a horrid smell emitting from them for months and we were still told to sell them. Also any returned shoes that customers brought back that had been worn, were meant to get a “5 minute clean” so you could be buying a shoe that someone had worn multiple times and were just cleaned up. If someone asked why they looked that way. We were instructed to say that because customers grab their own size from the stacks, this one may have been tried on more often, but was still perfectly fine."
"Clearance shoes that could go as low as 75% off were drastically marked higher before going to clearance meaning that you were just paying full price."
"In my particular store, my entire system from computers to lights to being able to exit emergency entrances were due to faulty wiring that was always called out during code inspections yet “miraculously” disappeared during the retest when no work was ever done. My store also defaulted in rent payments several times and would send checks that bounced to landlords office."
"They also ran extensive background checks on all employees without any consent at all. Nobody ever signed documents and policy and procedure handbooks were never signed."
"Why did I end up having to sign an NDA?"
"Well they fired me and when I filed for unemployment they denied the claim. I lawyered up and because my team was confused about the whole situation, they risked there necks and sent documents, emails, phone logs, maintenance work logs, and so forth to me. I had an amazing lawyer that also found the docked pay for almost my entire district that was somehow ending up in our regionals pocket. It turned into this HUGE case, after all was said and done they paid me out so I got a decent amount to live on if I wanted. They could’ve saved so much money had they not started an internal investigation over employee theft that had no bounds at all. I hate this company so much with a passion."
"Bed Bath and Beyond forced me into an NDA concerning my separation. Ultimately, I was a manager, and they would not allow me to hire a 60 year-old woman because they believed she couldn't lift heavy boxes. This is a violation of employment law and discriminatory. When I chose to hire her, they relieved me of my job. I threatened to sue (my grad work is in employment discrimination). They immediately sent the home office HR to my store to offer me a settlement and an NDA. They basically told me if I didn't sign it, I would be fired anyway and I could take them to court where I would likely not get anywhere near as much as my settlement. I of course didn't have money for a legal retainer, so I didn't have any options."
The Opposite NDA
"When I was at school (20+ years ago) we had a whole school assembly where an established fruit drink brand (owned by one of the big drinks companies) came in and sold to us all for 30 minutes straight under the guise that we were a focus group and then made us watch 5-6 adverts for the drink so they could gather important feedback."
"We were told we were too young to sign non-disclosure agreements but they really hyped how super secret and special it was that we got to see these adverts and it we told anyone we had to be careful not to tell them everything because it is secret detail only for our specially chosen group."
"Of course we all went out and for a few weeks solid talked about this brand of drink and how awesome it was to anyone and everyone who would listen. We all got our parents to fill our fridges with it and I still to this day have some kind of bind with the brand that makes me feel warmly towards it and for years my "interesting thing about me" was that I have been in a focus group for this product."
"I later found out they ran these "focus groups" in literally every school in the country that would let them (paying a few hundred bucks to the school as a "focus group fee).""
"Absolutely incredible marketing ploy - no expensive TV adverts, goijg straight to the targwt market, making it exiting and bringing us into the brand family- telling us the adverts we watched were secret and subject to non disclosure to make us feel invested."
Don't Be Rude To Those Who Handle Food
"I once worked at Popeyes in high school. We had a rude customer come through the dive thru one night right before we closed. My manager and another co worker had dropped the man's chicken on the floor ( it was covered in grease and outside shoe residue) and we all looked at each other and did the right thing... we gave him that chicken!! I regret nothing."
"I didn't want to be fired but felt morally obligated to not feed people food that was meant to be garbage, so I just sneaky tossed it out when nobody was looking because I got paid really well there. We all had to sign NDA's saying we wouldn't tell the media or non employees about recipes and procedures that covered leftover food and food waste. Eventually my boss discovered what I was doing and I stood up to him about not being willing to reuse garbage as food so we agreed that I'd just quit because while they could force me not to talk about it, they couldn't actually force me to do something illegal for my job and I was clearly refusing to do it."
Some of these are even worse/funnier than I imagined.