Non-disclosure agreements

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) no longer to be used to “gag” victims

Non-disclosure agreements no longer to be used to “gag” victims

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) will no longer be legally enforceable if they prevent victims from discussing a crime with certain bodies. We will discuss this recent change to law and what it means in this article.

What is an NDA and when is it used?

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in the context of employment law is a legal contract or contractual provision that an employee can be asked to sign before starting a new job or undertaking a specific project at work. The purpose of an NDA is to prevent commercially sensitive and confidential information from being made public.

  • New Employees: Employers may ask new employees to sign an NDA to safeguard company secrets.
  • Settlement Agreements: NDAs can be part of settlement agreements to resolve disputes at work. They help keep settlement terms and circumstances confidential.
  • Post-Employment: NDAs may be used after an employee leaves a job to maintain confidentiality about certain matters.

Businesses, however, have also used the agreements to silence or prevent an employee from sharing information that an employer may perceive as damaging to the business, such as allegations of sexual harassment or abuse.  

Changes to Non-disclosure Agreements

On the 28th March 2024, the government issued a press release announcing Victims will no longer be prevented from accessing support or legal advice under plans to crack down on the misuse of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).” Crackdown on ‘gagging orders’ to protect victims’ ability to access support – GOV.UK (

Victims who have signed NDAs have often feared seeking legal advice or reporting crimes to the police. The reform issued by the government will see victims of such incidents be able to still obtain the support they need without fear of legal retribution from any signed NDA.

The changes to the law, issued by the government on 28th March, will now mean that an NDA is not legally enforceable if they prevent victims of crimes from discussing the crime with the following bodies:

NDAs will not be affected and will still be legally enforceable in relation to protecting commercially sensitive information, financial agreements or other obligations that do not relate to the above disclosures.

The published article from the Government states that the legislation will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows. 

Importance of understanding Employment Law

This may come as news to some employers and employee. However, it is already law that an employee cannot be “gagged” in any agreement in terms of whistleblowing or reporting a crime to the police. Some misinformed employers do not point these clauses out in such agreements. With the changes now announced, it is more important than ever that appropriate employment law and legal advice is sought when choosing to enter into an NDA.  

How can HPC help?

At HPC, we can advise employers who are looking to create a non-disclosure agreement. Whether this be for new employees, settlement agreements, or post-employment. We can produce these documents for you and direct you to ensure you remain compliant with employment law.

To find out more information or if you require any advice about NDA’s get in contact with our team of experts.

T: 0330 107 1037


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