‘I would like to be paid immediately’: CEO tries to withhold former employee’s final paycheck until they sign an NDA


APRIL 26, 2023

If this isn’t the problem with startup culture, I don’t know what is! This former employee, who shared their story via this thread on Reddit’s r/antiwork subreddit, was fired on December 2nd. Their boss — the CEO of the startup — has refused to deliver the Redditor’s final paycheck by December 13th. The reason why? Well, the CEO wants the employee to sign a new NDA and is essentially holding their final paycheck hostage until that document is signed.

Thankfully, here’s a story where the Redditor knew their rights and threw them right back in the face of their former employer. They pointed out that withholding pay in this instance is already a violation of California labor law and that the employee signed an initial NDA in their original contract. Why were those original terms no longer sufficient enough? After a heated back-and-forth over email, which you can find below, the employee decided to CC the company’s investors, board of directors, and former clients in a final display of delicious revenge.

Keep scrolling below to read the full emails and to see what people had to say in the comments! For more stories like this, feel free to check out this post about a boss who felt his employees were abusing “water privileges.”


“I just sent an NDA for signature through Hellosign (Dropbox Sign). When you get a chance, please fill that out. Once it is received, we will wrap things up on our end and you will receive your final paycheck in the next pay period (12/23 I believe).

Please let me know if you have any questions.




“Asking for me to sign an NDA at this point feels like a gross overstep of our relationship. I think you’ll find our current non-disclosure terms, for one year from the date of my termination, are sufficient. If you need, you may reference them in my original employment contract. If you do not have a copy of that contract, I would be happy to send it to you.

I am not comfortable signing this NDA though, especially after my employment with ——— has come to an end. I would appreciate it if you sent me my final paycheck, and honored our original agreement without any further complications.

Thank you,



“Hey ———–,

This non-disclosure agreement is totally a normal thing and is a typical protocol for many employees leaving businesses. This is a legal compliance thing, and we will not be able to release your final paycheck until we receive your signature on this non-disclosure agreement.




“My last day of work was December 2nd. You are already non-compliant with California labor code S201, as today is December 13th. I would like to be paid immediately.”


“Hey ————-,

I understand your frustration, and I am sorry you feel that way. Unfortunately, we cannot release your final paycheck until you sign the non-disclosure agreement that has been sent to you.

Kind Regards,



“I thought long and hard about how to appropriately reply to this. Normally I would CC your manager or the CEO, but seeing as you are the CEO, I’ve gone ahead and CC’d our investors, our board of directors, and all of my clients.

Kindly go f*** yourself.”

Courtesy/Source: Cheezeburger