Sexual harassment and assault on the job are illegal under the law. However, it can also discourage employees from speaking up. There has been a lot of talk about how women who have experienced sexual harassment at work must sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) as part of a settlement contract, which prevents them from speaking out about their experiences. To learn more, visit this page.
What is an NDA?
NDA stands for a non-disclosure agreement. They are legally binding contracts that forbid a person or organization from disclosing information. They are also often known as confidentiality clauses. A Non-Disclosure Agreement could:
- Be incorporated into an Acas settlement form (‘COT3’) or settlement agreement.
- Be incorporated into an employment contract.
- Be a different legal document.
When it comes to employment conflicts, NDAs are commonly used. They can be used to keep some aspects of an agreement, or even the fact that an agreement was made, private.
Why is this a concern in cases of sexual harassment?
The abuse of NDAs in the context of sexual harassment is disturbing for a variety of reasons, which are:
- NDAs can be used to conceal both discrimination and ongoing misbehavior.
- By silencing and isolating survivors, they protect organizations and powerful individuals.
- NDAs might make victims/survivors feel they can not be honest with their family and friends since they can not discuss specifics about what happened to them.
- Victims and survivors are frequently persuaded to sign NDAs and fear that they must do so to achieve an agreement with their employers. It has become common practice to include them in settlement agreements; however, contrary to popular belief (or what your employer may tell you), they are not compulsory, and victims/survivors are not obligated to sign one.
What should you do if you have been requested to sign an NDA?
If you have been requested to sign an NDA, consult a lawyer for guidance and help. A lawyer can advise you on whether the terms of the agreement are suitable or whether an NDA is even required. If you choose to sign an NDA, you should be given adequate time to consider it and the chance to seek independent legal advice before doing so. Otherwise, it may not be legally enforceable.
An employer may not use an NDA to stop you from reporting a criminal offense, whistleblowing, or doing anything else required by law, such as submitting evidence to a court, tribunal, regulator, or the police. If you have previously signed an agreement and are dissatisfied with the terms, you can still seek legal help. Do not hesitate, and reach out to an experienced attorney today.