​Congress Reins In Nondisclosure Agreements

Leah Shepherd By Leah Shepherd December 8, 2022

Editor's Note: President Joe Biden signed the Speak Out Act on Dec. 7.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 16 passed the Speak Out Act, which prohibits the use of nondisclosure and nondisparagement agreements in the case of sexual harassment and assault. The bill passed the Senate on Sept. 29.

We've collected articles on the news from SHRM Online and other trusted news sources.

Sent to President

If signed into law, the bill would nullify some nondisclosure agreements when employees allege sexual harassment or assault. The legislation cleared the House in a 315-109 vote and now heads to President Joe Biden, who has expressed support for its passage.

(Bloomberg Law)

No Forced Arbitration

The Speak Out Act is a next step after a law Biden signed earlier this year ended forced arbitration in cases involving sexual harassment or assault. The new legislation applies only to contracts signed before a dispute arises, not afterward, and does not cover other workplace misconduct, such as age and race discrimination.


Growing More Common

Once thought of as the province of the highest-level executives, nondisclosure agreements have become more common in recent years. The legislation is a win for victims of mistreatment—and not only for those who want to speak publicly, but for their colleagues who might be unaware that others are facing harassment or assault. It's also a victory for #MeToo advocates, led by former Fox News hosts Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky, who advocated for the bill at a time of heightened bipartisan conflict during a lame-duck session of Congress.


State Laws

The Speak Out Act is similar to laws passed in California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. The purpose is to allow victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault to speak publicly about it in order to stop perpetrators from continuing to harm people.

(SHRM Online)



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