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California passes two bills targeting non-disclosure agreements

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Suddenly, non-disclosure agreements are the talk of the nation.

In California, the state’s legislature passed two bills targeting non-disclosure agreements for regulation.

If signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, the bills would ban workplace sexual abusers in positions of power — abusers like Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, for instance — from forcing their victims to remain silent about their abuse.

“For years, sexual harassment victims found themselves unable to speak freely about their experiences, either because of provisions in their employment contracts or settlement agreements,” BuzzFeed notes.

The bills would still permit victims to voluntarily request either a settlement or NDA.

“It would be a truly historic win for victims that will no longer have to suffer at the hands of perpetrators that have hidden behind the curtain of secrecy created by these settlements,” state Sen. Connie Leyva, who reportedly sponsored the bill, said in a statement following the bills’ passage.

The bills would also prevent employers from sneaking mandatory arbitration clauses and nondisclosure agreements into their employee contracts. In a rush to get hired, prospective employees often sign away their rights without even knowing it.

According to Buzzfeed, Washington has already passed a similar law, while New Jersey and New York are in the process of passing one as well. A corresponding bill has reportedly also been introduced in the national Congress.

While good news for the #MeToo movement, passage of #SB820 came during the same week that one of the women responsible for launching the movement, actress Asia Argento, has herself been outed as a sexual abuser. And just earlier this month a well-known feminist professor and #MeToo advocate from New York University was likewise accused of sexual abuse.

 

Vivek Saxena

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