(Bloomberg) -- OpenAI is releasing a majority of past employees from nondisparagement agreements tied to their exit contracts and equity, the startup confirmed Thursday.

In a message sent to former employees Thursday, the company said it would not seek to cancel staffers’ equity that has vested if they spoke out about the company.“Regardless of whether you executed the agreement, we write to notify you that OpenAI has not canceled, and will not cancel, any vested units,” said the message, which was reviewed by Bloomberg. Current staff were also notified of the change.

Employees have been raising concerns about restrictions after Vox reported last week that some OpenAI staffers were asked to sign nondisparagement agreements tied to their shares in the company. This put employees at risk of having potentially lucrative equity clawed back if they spoke out against OpenAI and the company decided to enforce the nondisclosure and nondisparagement portion of the exit contract. 

While nondisclosures are standard practice at many tech companies, some employees bristled at the prospect of tying nondisparagement agreements to shares, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private information. 

In a statement Thursday, OpenAI said it would remove the language from its exit paperwork for outgoing staffers, in addition to releasing former employees from nondisparagement agreements, “unless the nondisparagement provision was mutual.” 

“We are sorry for the distress this has caused great people who have worked hard for us,” Chief Strategy Officer Jason Kwon said in a statement. “We have been working to fix this as quickly as possible. We will work even harder to be better.”

(Updates with executive comment in final paragraph.)

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