Bill to Ban Confidentiality in Workplace Harassment ClaimsPosted February 1, 2018
The #MeToo movement has led to a national discussion about sexual harassment and sexual abuse as women across the country have found the courage to speak out against perpetrators. Unfortunately, many women are never allowed to speak up due to non-disclosure agreements. A bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D) aims to end such confidentiality agreements between employees and their employers when the employee has suffered from discrimination, retaliation, or harassment, as reported by Northjersey.com. “We must also change the legal landscape to ensure that harassment and other unacceptable conduct is not kept secret by contractual agreements that allow perpetrators to continue their abusive behavior,” said Weinberg. The text of the bill can be found at this link: https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2016/Bills/S4000/3581_I1.PDF
When an employer has sexually assaulted, harassed, discriminated or retaliated against an employee, they sometimes wish to settle privately as opposed to having a public trial. As part of settlement, it is standard for the employee who was harassed to be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement saying that they will not disclose the nature of the dispute, the terms of the settlement, or what they allege their employer did. In other words, they cannot speak out against that employer. Proponents of the bill argue that non-disclosure agreements harm future employees who unknowingly take jobs from a potentially dangerous or abusive employer. Those against the bill argue that employers will be less likely to settle without the promise of confidentiality, and that often victims of alleged harassment also wish to keep the situation private.
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R) has expressed support, and on December 17, 2017, the bill was favorably reported out of Assembly committee. See https://www.njleg.state.nj.us
What is Workplace Harassment?
Workplace harassment is a form of discrimination, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Harassment is “unwelcome conduct” that is based on the employee’s race, religion, gender, pregnancy status, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, age, or genetic information. Offenses include slurs, offensive jokes, intimidation, mockery, insults, offensive images, physical or sexual assault, and interference with work performance.
Call a Red Bank Attorney Today
Have you been the target of workplace harassment? You deserve to work in a safe, welcoming environment just like everyone else, and your employer must pay the consequences of their unethical behavior. Call or contact the attorneys of Foss, San Filippo & Milne, LLC today at (732) 741-2525 for assistance.