2017 was a year of revelations. It triggered a global movement in the form of #metoo that continues to gain traction.
I don’t need to cover the events that led to sexual harassment in the work place becoming a hot topic because unless you’ve been living in a cave the last year, you have probably seen the miserable face of a once acclaimed Hollywood producer splashed across the front pages of the news, yes, I’m talking about Harvey Weinstein. The Weinstein Company was notorious for encouraging employees to sign non-disclosure agreements (“NDA’s”), effectively silencing the abuse.
Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there and in January 2018 sexual harassment allegations flooded the tabloids back in the UK with reports of hostesses signing 5 page non-disclosure agreements while working at the President’s Club, London.
So what has been done about it?
The Women & Equalities Committee published a report 25 July 2018 and proposed recommendations for NDAs including, an onus on regulators to sanction legal professionals if they misuse NDAs to silence victims of sexual harassment.
New legislation is also coming into force which will ban companies from creating agreements that restrain employees from going to the police, this will form part of the forthcoming domestic abuse bill.
Let’s hope these steps set a precedent for preventing the silencing of victims of sexual harassment in the work place!
One year after the launch of the #MeToo movement, ministers are preparing a crackdown to stop employers buying victims’ silence. Under the plans, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) will be outlawed in cases where victims make complaints of sexual assault which are of a criminal nature. That can involve any form of unwanted sexual contact, ranging from a hand on the knee to rape.