Or could doing so (backdating such a document) be considered fraud, forgery, or anything illegal, or even for some reason ethically or morally wrong?
It seems to me that it might be legal (assuming that I as the employee were willing to sign it) because as an employee I'd assume that some NDA was in place even if haven't signed one (so it's as if the agreement or meeting of minds was in place even before it was documented).
Furthermore, giving the written contract its own date simply reflects the reality of how the contract process unfolded, and it’s always good to have contracts track reality.
If the date of the oral agreement was reached is somehow significant, then mention it in the recitals of the written contract.
And to say it's up to the bean-counters to catch this situation is silly, because the whole reason you're using phony dates is so that the bean-counters won't know what you really did.
When then-general counsel Nancy Heinen emailed Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs such a spreadsheet on January 30, 2001, she noted that it was a bad idea to choose January 2 as the grant date--even though that was the day the stock had been at its lowest--if they wanted "to avoid any perception that the Board was acting in appropriately [sic] for insiders prior to Macworld announcements." (They ultimately chose one of the next-best dates from after Macworld.) Now isn't it obvious to everyone on that email that shareholders are being misled?Whenever I write about backdating, many people write in to tell me that backdating's not illegal; you just have to account for it correctly.Since so many people think this is an important point, I thought I'd do a post addressing just that contention. What I assume people mean is that granting in-the-money options is not illegal, so long as you account for it properly. But the whole point of backdating is to pretend that you're not granting in-the-money options when in fact you are.This avoids confusion and ambiguity that could call the enforceability of the contract into question. For example, every other project you worked on was confidential, for the office policy is to keep unreleased projects confidential. to the extent that it doesn't involve criminality but may render the agreement unenforceable.Some of the issues that arise when back-dating a NDA are: @Chris W, Yes, that would be an example, but the more detailed the better. It would clearly be fine if the document simply formalised a NDA that the parties agree had been in force as a verbal agreement all along.