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Omarosa Criticism of Trump Raises NDA Questions

Non Disclosure Agreement Between Omarosa and Trump In Question

News broke this past weekend about former White House aide and Apprentice contestant, Omarosa Manigault-Newman’s controversial claims against President Donald Trump. The controversial claims of misogyny, racism, and mental decline come accompanied with Omarosa showing secretly recorded audio of a conversation she had while working in the White House. Omarosa claims to have even more tapes of assorted conversation while working in the White House that could prove troublesome for the current Trump administration.

Omarosa’s allegations of racism and a White House in disarray come as she promotes her new tell-all book Unhinged:An Insider’s Account of the Trump White Houseabout her experiences working inside the White House and the controversial things she witnessed. Among the most controversial revelations accompanying these allegations made by Omarosa through her book and public statements is the existence of a tape recording of Donald Trump using certain racial slurs.

Trump Campaign Files Arbitration Against Omarosa

All of these allegations by Omarosa have put the Trump administration into damage control as it vehemently denies any of Omarosa’s controversial claims. So far, the Trump administration’s strategy for dealing with Omarosa’s controversial claims is to frame her statements as spiteful remarks from a disgruntled former employee. The president himself even took the time to weigh in on the controversy through twitter statements calling Omarosa a “dog” and a “lowlife”.

One significant point of concern is Omarosa Manigault-Newman’s violation of a non-disclosure agreement that she signed with the Trump campaign that prevented her from speaking ill of Donald Trump and disclosing sensitive information. The Trump campaign has since filed for arbitration against Omarosa which has set off the debate as to whether the president can use NDA’s to stop staff criticism and how this may affect free speech.

What is a Non-Disclosure Agreement?

A non-disclosure agreement is defined as a legal contract between at least two parties that prevents the revealing of information or materials deemed confidential to other parties by the two parties sharing the information.

NDA’s are usually signed as a condition of employment with companies that require the handling of sensitive information they do not want public; much like how the White House handles sensitive information disclosed to its staff. It is not at all unusual for NDA’s to be a required part of employment, even for employment somewhere such as the White House although national security secrets like foreign affairs strategies are handled differently than recordings of an official using racial epithets. NDA’s are also commonly presented as part of settlements to protect a party’s privacy.

Breaking a Non-Disclosure Agreement

NDA’s prevent information from being released to third parties but they can also include clauses that prevent someone from disparaging an employer or speaking negatively about them at all. In the event that a non disclosure agreement is broken, there can be a monetary penalty, a lawsuit, termination of employment, or rescinding of a settlement depending on what is outlined in the contract.

In Omarosa’s case, she is being sued by the Trump campaign for a breach of a contract via her public controversial claims and her tell-all book. There is currently a great deal of speculation occurring surrounding Omarosa’s lawsuit and breach of NDA. She signed an NDA with the Trump campaign in 2016 but refused to sign one with the White House.

Non-Disclosure Agreement Legality

Some experts believe that Omarosa may be able to stand her ground against the lawsuit from the Trump campaign on the basis that since Donald Trump is the President of the United States and a public servant, restriction of criticism of him could be construed as restriction of freedom of speech. Even more attention has been drawn to drafts of the NDA White House staffers have had to sign that use disconcertingly vague language when specifying what kind of information is prohibited from sharing because of the NDA.

Outside of Omarosa’s unique circumstances, an NDA is very much legal under most circumstances. However, there are certain occasions where an NDA can be breached. If the information or activities that the NDA designates as confidential are illegal then they are fair game to breach. Also, if someone under an NDA is subpoenaed then they are obligated to speak to the best of their knowledge even if within breach of their NDA.

Other Kinds of Restrictive Agreements

In addition to non-disclosure agreements, there are also non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements. These agreements typically are used in the business world in order to protect sensitive information and practices form exploitation.

The most similar to a non-disclosure agreement is the confidentiality agreement. They both ultimately serve the same purpose of preserving sensitive information from third parties although there are some minor discrepancies.

Confidentiality agreements are typically used in matters where higher secrecy is required and between employees and employers. There are a few more minor differences but confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements typically both are affected by the same laws and have been known to be used interchangeably or on the same document.

Non-Disclosure Agreements and a Personal Injury Claim

As mentioned before, non-disclosure agreements can be used as a condition in settlements to protect sensitive information. More often than not, it’s the defendant that has the non-disclosure agreement as a condition, although it is not unheard of for a plaintiff to have one as their condition though.

It is best to proceed with caution when dealing with any kind of restrictive agreement. The primary point of concern should be the language specifying exactly what is confidential and restricted by the agreement. It’s always best to have a skilled lawyer look over any non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements anyone pushes your way before you sign or you could be forced to remain silent about something important by a legally binding document.

Seek an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Call our Clearwater office at (727) 451-6900 or contact us online for a free consultation with a knowledgeable employment law attorney who can assess your situation and help you determine if you may be able to seek damages.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

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