Sexual Harassment And Non-Disclosure Agreements: California Poised To Ban Confidentiality Provisions

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Denis ZilberbergMay 5, 2018Sexual Harassment

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, victims of sexual harassment have been more empowered than ever to speak publicly about workplace harassment, abuse, sexism, groping, derogatory comments, unwanted sexual advances, and other types of sexual harassment in California.

But there are millions of women in Los Angeles and all across California who are still frightened to come forward with sexual harassment allegations, as this would be a violation of confidentiality provisions of their non-disclosure agreements. In other cases, there are also settlements between the harasser and the victim that prohibit the latter from speaking up about sexual misconduct in the workplace.

In addition to that, many sexual harassment scandals are resolved behind closed doors to prevent them from plaguing the company’s reputation. In a nutshell, victims of workplace harassment are being silenced by their employers and supervisors, our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney at The Kaufman Law Firm says.

What is the new legislation about?

But California is determined to put an end to some of the most common tactics used by employers to tie victims’ hands and prevent them from speaking publicly about sexual harassment in the workplace.

There is new legislation that could be enforced in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California that would ban confidentiality provisions in non-disclosure agreements and settlement agreements in order to eliminate the practice of silencing victims of harassment. These confidentiality provisions help tens of thousands of harassers, gropers, abusers, sexists and predators to get away with their inappropriate behaviour unexposed and unpunished.

Without these provisions, which are legally binding, victims of sexual harassment would be able to speak publicly about harassment, inappropriate and illegal behavior in the workplace and not fear legal punishment for violating the terms of the non-disclosure agreement.

What is the STAND Act?

Earlier this year, senators in California introduced the STAND Act (Stand Together Against Non-Disclosures), the purpose of which is to eliminate confidentiality provisions in NDAs and settlement agreements regarding sexual misconduct, harassment, and discrimination at work.

“With the STAND Act, victims of sexual harassment in Los Angeles and all across California would have more power to decide whether illegal or wrongful activities should remain confidential or not,” our sexual harassment attorney in Los Angeles explains. “This measure would apply to both public and private employers in California.”

In addition to that, NDAs and settlements would now have more legal value in courts, as the new legislation would allow California courts to consider these agreements when looking into factual evidence of sexual harassment or discrimination during litigation.

The plaintiff may choose to keep certain details of these settlement agreements, including settlement amounts, private and not available to the public, but the new legislation is poised to make the names of perpetrators public and reveal their illegal activities to prevent further misconduct.

Why some people are not thrilled about the STAND Act

While the STAND Act has numerous pros and it is vital to prevent silencing of sexual harassment victims in Los Angeles and all across California, experts are worried about the legislation’s potential cons. Many companies and employers use non-disclosure agreements to obtain a guarantee from the worker that certain sensitive information, such as trade secrets, will not be disclosed to the public and the company’s competitors.

Some experts argue that without these confidentiality provisions, many companies would be reluctant to settle claims or make big payouts. Also, experts predict that banning confidentiality provisions in NDAs would result in a sharp increase in the number of lawsuits between employers and their employees, and these lawsuits are almost always expensive and time-consuming.

Have you been sexually harassed in the workplace and do not know how to take action or where to start? Consult with our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney at The Kaufman Law Firm today. Get a consultation by calling at 310-981-3404 or sending us an email.


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