SCM NEWS & OPINIONS

#MeToo Movement and the impact on non-disclosure agreements

Contact: Keith A. Call

Since the Hollywood floodgates opened, with the onslaught of sexual misconduct allegations and lawsuits, there has been a lot of discussion about non-disclosure agreements or NDAs.

An NDA is a legally binding contract or provision often included in a settlement.  It prohibits both the victim and the accused from publicly discussing either the settlement or details of what happened.

Not everybody supports the use of NDAs.  Those opposed argue that they should not be allowed in all situations involving sexual harassment because these contracts silence victims and allow predators to continue their behaviors.  New York, New Jersey and California are considering legislation that would limit NDAs in sexual misconduct situations.

On the other side, those against banning NDAs say that if abusers are not forced to keep the allegations confidential, then abusers would have no incentive to settle claims and victims would have to endure litigation and possibly public trials.  Litigation is certainly never a guarantee for the victim and can drag on for years putting the abused through more trauma.

Earlier this year, XpertHR polled a group of human resource professionals and published the results in this sexual harassment survey report.  Survey findings revealed that although 90 percent of companies reported they have sexual harassment policies, 1 in 5 still do not offer training to prevent harassment incidents from happening in the first place.  Just 35 percent of the surveyed companies plan to implement a new harassment policy this year, while 37 percent will amend a current one.

Less than a fifth of the 500 companies surveyed plan to offer bystander training, which teaches people how to respond in instances where they suspect another person at work is being harassed.  Only 50 percent of the companies said the problem of harassment has taken on a new level of importance in 2018.

For questions or more information about non-compete agreements, please contact SCM attorneys Keith A. Call or Robert T. Denny

Keith A. Call