On October 8, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 331 into law. The bill, sponsored by State Senator Connie Leyva, makes it illegal for companies to prohibit employees from speaking about discrimination and harassment.
Previously, laws such as the Stand Together Against Non-Disclosures Act banned non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in sexual harassment, but did not prohibit NDAs for other types of discrimination, such as race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Now, California workers will have legal protections for speaking out about all manner of unlawful conduct in the workplace.
This legislation has been strongly supported by Ifeoma Ozoma, a Pinterest whistleblower who spoke out about racial discrimination at the company. NDAs are commonly used, particularly in the tech industry, to keep employees quiet about workplace harassment and discrimination for fear of facing legal action and fines. People began discussing them more frequently after it was reported during the #MeToo movement that Harvey Weinstein and other abusers used NDAs to silence their victims.
SB 331 was sponsored by the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), the organization Earthseed, and Equal Rights Advocates. It will take effect on January 1, 2022.
If you believe you have been a victim of discrimination or harassment in the workplace, contact Teukolsky Law today for a free consultation.
Lauren Teukolsky is the founder and owner of Teukolsky Law, A Professional Corporation.