26 Jul 2019

Employment

Crackdown on Gagging Orders

New laws will allow alleged victims to speak out

New laws will be introduced to preclude employers from “gagging” employees from discussing matters such as sexual harassment. The Government has announced that it will tackle the misuse of NDAs. Individuals signing NDAs will have to receive independent legal advice on the limitations of a confidentiality clause. Individuals will still be able to speak to the Police, regulated health and care professionals or legal professionals. Employers who impose NDAs but who do not comply with the enhanced protections will face penalties. Kelly Tolhurst, the Business Minister, stated: “we will not tolerate the use of NDAs to silence and intimidate victims”.

Non-Disclosure Agreements have come under increasing scrutiny through their use by high profile individuals, such as Harvey Weinstein and Sir Philip Green.

While some are critical that NDAs are used at all, our view is that the Government will probably get the balance about right, as employers would otherwise be unwilling to enter into settlements to compromise claims unless there were some restrictions on publicity.

As yet, there is no set timetable for new legislation on this issue.  Prudently, employers will no longer seek to preclude, within NDAs, employees from dealing with the Police and/or medical advisers, as employers that have sought to have faced considerable adverse publicity.

If you require any further advice on this issue, please do not hesitate to contact our employment team here.

 

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