For decades, companies around the country have used non-disclosure agreements (NDA) to protect confidential information from becoming public. Originally, these agreements were designed to keep business practices secret. In more recent news, it has become apparent that NDAs are being used to conceal sexual harassment incidents between employees.
Improper Use of Contractual Agreements
Public scandals involving the sexual harassment allegations of former NBC anchor Matt Lauer have shown the improper use of NDAs and non-disparagement clauses. NBC Universal is now releasing former employees from these contractual agreements, stating that it will allow them to speak up about sexual harassment and other improper experiences they encountered during their tenure with NBC. Advocates for women’s rights, such as those in the #MeToo movement, agree that it may be too late. There are also certain stipulations to NBC’s decision that most speculate may prevent accusers from speaking out.
If a former employee would like to be released from their NDA and speak up about their previous experience with NBC, they must first contact the network’s legal department, revealing their identity and those they accuse. Those that support women’s rights believe that this clause will cause an even bigger roadblock for victims of sexual assault. Forcing assault victims to unnecessarily reveal their identities to their former employers’ legal team causes more stress to the victim, who already suffered too much.
Experts who are following this latest development agree that NBC could have easily allowed their employees to speak up about assault anonymously, but that is not the case. They also suggest that NBC could have hired a third party, unbiased legal team to investigate these allegations further, but instead chose not to. This leads advocates for women’s rights skeptical of NBC’s choices.
Lawmakers Work to Bar Companies from Using NDAs
Among the fear of revealing their identity and subjecting themselves to the public eye, accusers can be fined thousands of dollars if they break NDAs. In July 2018, a group of democrats and republicans from the House of Representatives introduced the Empower Act to prevent companies from forcing employees to sign NDAs. It will also prevent companies from using an NDA as a tool to use against an employee if they were sexually assaulted or harassed in any way. Companies would also have to release specific information annually concerning sexual harassment claims against them.
Montgomery County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Protect Victims of Workplace Sexual Harassment
Companies have been using NDAs in hopes of silencing victims of workplace sexual harassment. If you were harassed by an employee in the workplace, contact the Montgomery County sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Our knowledgeable lawyers will fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 215-569-1999 or fill out our online form for a free consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.