Can non-disclosure agreements be retroactive?
Thread poster: Sarah McDowell

Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:15
Russian to English
+ ...
Feb 18, 2014

I have been working with a translation agency for about 6 months now. We never signed any formal agreements of any kind or had purchase orders. Everything was quite simple and straightforward. They sent me projects, we agreed on a price and then they paid me after the translations were finished.

Now, this agency has sent me a non-disclosure agreement, which is fine but it states that this agreement also governs our previous working relationship. Is this legitimate? I thought that these kinds of agreements would take effect only from the moment of signing by both parties.

Has anyone heard of such an agreement?


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 19:15
English to Polish
+ ...
... Feb 18, 2014

You can accept some obligations with regard to information you learnt before signing the agreement. You can also confirm/narrow down in writing some previous understanding you may have had with the agency regarding confidential stuff. Nothing alarming here unless the NDA contains some provisions that aren't about confidentiality at all (as is rather popular these days). Just don't sign backdated agreements.icon_wink.gif

[Edited at 2014-02-18 23:22 GMT]


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
It seems perfectly reasonable to me. Feb 18, 2014

I think we spend too much time agonizing about the finer points of NDAs. They're mostly common sense, and I just give them a quick once over and sign them.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:15
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Limit the coverage before the agreement Feb 19, 2014

It sounds fair to me to include previous work in a standard type of NDA. Our clients and their texts deserve a certain level of confidentiality with or without an NDA.

But what it can't include, IMO, is disclosures in the form of names on your CV etc that have already been published and which will remain on the web for some time, and maybe in agency databases for ever. You can, and should, remove names now, but you can't be expected to be able to do anything about previous copies.


 

Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:15
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone Feb 19, 2014

I found out that it's just a standard form that they are sending all translators due to new requirements from some of their end customers.

I was a bit confused because I never even did any confidential translations for this agency. I asked them about it and they said it's just a new procedure that they have to do according to a certain standard. So it's all fine to me now.

Sheila, that won't concern me as I never mentioned any names on CVs or any other documents. I appreciate your replies everyone.


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 19:15
English to Polish
+ ...
... Feb 20, 2014

Sarah McDowell wrote:

they said it's just a new procedure that they have to do according to a certain standard.


Translation: 'We're getting certified for ISO 4335457474745-12315 and fearing an audit, so our lawyer has prepared some retroactive NDA's that we want all translators to sign for us regardless whether they've done any work for us at all cuz we're just too scared and better safe than sorry. No, don't ask me to consider making an exception for you, I know that'd be reasonable, but I'll get a heart attack if you keep mentioning it.'

(Alternatively, it's just too much hassle, or too much mental effort required.icon_razz.gif)

[Edited at 2014-02-20 02:03 GMT]


 


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Can non-disclosure agreements be retroactive?

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