A non-disclosure violation occurs when one party discloses information or material without authorization or approval. These usually occur in connection with a non-disclosure agreement, also called a confidentiality agreement. Such agreements are intended to restrict and control the way the parties handle and release information that is classified, confidential, or private.

In most cases, non-disclosure violations are required by employers for certain workers who handle sensitive material. In the non-disclosure agreement agreement, the employers lays out instructions regarding the sensitive material, such as:

  • Which persons or parties (if any) can have access to the material
  • Procedures for disclosing the information when needed
  • Consequences of unauthorized disclosures

Non-disclosure agreements are typically included as clauses in an employment contract.

What Are Some Examples of Non-Disclosure Violations?

Some common examples of violations of a non-disclosure agreement may include:

  • Telling friends or family members about the protected material
  • Releasing company information to the press or to the consumer public
  • Releasing photos, videos, or audio recordings of the sensitive material
  • Informing competing businesses about the company plans

Violations may also include a breach of any of the various terms that are specifically placed in a disclosure agreement. These can often be very unique, and may be created for each individual worker or each product involved. Penalties for non-disclosure violations may include damages awards, termination from employment, and other consequences.

What Should I Do If Non-Disclosure Agreement Has Been Violated?

A NDA can be violated in a variety of ways. One of the most common ways that a non-disclosure agreement is violated is called misappropriation. This occurs when secret company information is communicated without authorization of the disclosing party. If you believe that the person who signed your NDA has violated the agreement, there are available remedies. You may be able to pursue damages because they breached the contract that you both agreed upon. You may also pursue legal action for the following:

  • misappropriation of trade secrets
  • copyright infringement
  • breach of fiduciary duty
  • breach of contract
  • conversion
  • disclosure of trade secrets

Am I Required to Sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement?

In most cases, non-disclosure agreements are purely private requirements that are constructed by the hiring party. In other words, most laws do not require people to sign non-disclosure agreements. However, the hiring of a candidate often involves the signing of such agreements, so a person might not get the job they are seeking if they refuse to sign such agreements.

For some types of employment, non-disclosure agreements are absolutely essential to the line of work. For instance, persons who work with trademarks, logos, and other designs are often required to sign non-disclosures regarding the intellectual property they work with.

What Are the Penalties for a Non-Disclosure Agreement Violation?

There are many different penalties that could be applied if a person is convicted or in violation of a non-disclosure agreement:

  • A fine
  • Mandatory restitution
  • Job termination
  • Loss of future job prospects
  • Court Probation
  • Civil penalties

Should I Obtain a Lawyer for Help with a Non-Disclosure Agreement?

Non-disclosure violations can often result in losses and other negative consequences. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need help reviewing, contesting, or disputing a non-disclosure agreement. Your attorney can provide you with the legal advice that is needed for succeeding on your claim. Also, a qualified contract lawyer can help you with any legal questions or concerns that you might have regarding the agreement.