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By Adam Turteltaub
On December 7, 2022 The Speak Out Act became law. Stephen Paskoff, the President and CEO of ELI explains that the law was spurred by the #MeToo movement and the Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) that limited recourse available for victims. It was designed to make it easier for victims to come forward, and for improper behavior to remain hidden.
The new law, limits the ability of employers to include NDAs when it comes to sexual assault and harassment. Specifically, it states: With respect to a sexual assault dispute or sexual harassment dispute, no nondisclosure clause or nondisparagement clause agreed to before the dispute arises shall be judicially enforceable in
instances in which conduct is alleged to have violated Federal, Tribal, or State law.
As a result of the law, compliance teams, no doubt working closely with HR and the general counsel’s office, will need to work to ensure that NDAs for sexual assault and harassment are no longer used internally or even externally with vendors. Existing agreements will need to be reviewed as well.
Organizations will also need to recognize that the balance has shifted, making it easier for employees to air grievances publicly.
To get ahead of this issue, they will need to take several steps that they likely should have already, including stressing standards and the value of respect. Training to prevent the bad behavior in the first place will be even more important, as will be good controls to catch it quickly when it happens.
Listen in to learn more about what The Speak Out Act means for your compliance program.