Thursday, July 25, 2013

Is Spouse Bound By NDA?

Dear Rich: I signed an NDA with my employer and one of the things it said was that my spouse was also bound by it even though she didn't sign it. Is this legal? If you're asking, "Will a court enforce the NDA against your spouse?" the answer is "No."  Unless your spouse is a party to the nondisclosure agreement and signs it, the agreement can't be used against him or her. That's not to say there won't be consequences if your spouse discloses confidential information that was obtained from you. In that case, the employer can pursue you for making the unauthorized disclosure in the first place. Similarly, if your spouse obtained the confidential information through improper means -- for example, your spouse stole your password and downloaded the info without you knowing about it -- the company could pursue your spouse under state laws. (You can find your state's trade secret laws here.).