Does a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) make employers immune from a sexual harassment lawsuit?
This is the question that came to spotlight in Los Angeles and all over California following the sexual harassment scandal involving Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
In the past few weeks, dozens of women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment and even sexual assault that have allegedly taken place over a 30-year period. But one woman, in particular, drew nationwide attention to the use of NDAs, also referred to as confidentiality agreements.
One of Weinstein’s former assistants in Miramax’s London office came forward to publicly denounce NDAs, and, broke her own vows of secrecy as a result.
The use of NDAs became a widely-discussed matter in the Weinstein scandal, as this a potential obstacle not only Hollywood actresses, but also employees in other industries might encounter.
If you’re employed in Los Angeles or anywhere else in California and you signed some agreements prior to your first assignment, you probably signed an NDA as well.
But are NDAs bad? Not necessarily. An NDA is basically an agreement or provision that restricts someone from disclosing certain things. It’s a vow of secrecy that employees make before starting to work for an employer.
While the use of NDAs is understandable considering that most of their aspects are highly legitimate, as they involve trade secrets, if the agreement prohibits the employee from saying anything disparaging about the employer, it may be a reason to be concerned.
This means a serial offender, harasser, predator, and abuser could, in theory, get away with his wrongdoing, as employees that sign NDAs are legally prohibited from reporting the wrongdoing and therefore choose to remain silent.
So does it mean an NDA can protect an employer from a sexual harassment or sexual assault lawsuit? Not really.
Each particular case is unique and requires an experienced sexual harassment attorney to have a look at it. If the alleged wrongdoing took place in Los Angeles, it’s recommended to have a Los Angeles attorney advising you to make sure your employer will not have grounds to retaliate against your potential liability in an NDA.
While a Non-Disclosure Agreement cannot protect criminal wrongdoing, and you can go to a Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney to start legal action against the alleged harasser, there are other things to consider, like the statute of limitations (there are time limits you must be aware of before filing a sexual harassment claim).
Consult our experienced sexual harassment attorney in Los Angeles to know what other things to consider before filing a sexual harassment lawsuit.
If you’re about to sign a contract and other agreements, including NDA, with your new employer, and are concerned about certain provisions in it, consult our sexual harassment attorney to make sure that you’re safe.
Our attorneys will interpret provisions for you to ensure that your rights are not violated by the employer and that the employer doesn’t make you sign anything suspicious.