Brian Hauss: Donald Trump cannot muzzle federal employees with nondisclosure agreements

NEW YORK, Aug. 13, 2018 — Donald Trump today acknowledged the existence of nondisclosure agreements for White House staff. Brian Hauss, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, issued the following statement in response:

Donald Trump cannot muzzle federal employees. The First Amendment protects federal employees’ right to speak in a private capacity about matters of public concern. If such NDAs prohibit employees from revealing all information they learn of at work, without consideration of what the information is, they are unconstitutional and unenforceable.

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Additional thoughts on this can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/employee-speech-and-whistleblowers/no-president-cant-legally-gag-white-house.

1 COMMENT

  1. Requiring a federal employee to sign a nondisclosure agreement that would subject the employee to adverse action if the employee were to disclose what the employee believes to be dishonest, illegal, unethical, or grossly wasteful activity by an agency is not merely unconstitutional, it is a repudiation of federal law designed to protect such employees—the Whistleblower Protection Act.

    Any senior federal official who attempted to enforce the NDA could lose pay or even be fired.

    In my opinion as a former federal attorney, any attorney who played a part in drafting or attempting to enforce such an agreement could and probably should be sanctioned by that attorney’s bar association.

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