On December 7th, President Biden signed the Speak Out Act into law. The law makes nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) unenforceable if signed before a dispute involving sexual assault or sexual harassment arises. It comes less than a year after the passage of the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, a law that also improved workplace protections for victims of sexual harassment and assault.
The Speak Out Act represents a big victory for #MeToo movement and workers’ advocates. NDAs are frequently used to silence workers and keep accusations of sexual misconduct out of the public eye. They also prevent many workers from explaining job departures and employment gaps caused by sexual misconduct to prospective employers. According to a paper authored by Professors at Syracuse University and the University of Maryland, approximately 26 % of U.S. employees are covered by NDAs.
It is important to remember that the bill does not apply to other kinds of workplace disputes such as age or race discrimination. It also does not apply to NDAs signed after a dispute arises.
If you have been the target of sexual misconduct in the workplace, click here to get in touch with Teukolsky Law.
Lauren Teukolsky is the founder and owner of Teukolsky Law, A Professional Corporation.