May 2, 2022 By Christian Murray
A Jackson Heights assemblymember has introduced legislation that aims to ban non-disclosure agreements pertaining to workplace discrimination cases.
Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas has introduced a bill that would bar employers from including an NDA or non-disparagement agreement in a settlement pertaining to an alleged violation of human rights law or labor law.
The legislation, called the Stop Silencing Survivors Act, would also prohibit employers from including language in an employment contract that bars employees from disclosing information related to any future allegation of human rights law, labor law or their experience with an employer.
“Employers across all sectors in New York frequently weaponize non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to silence employees who’ve experienced workplace harassment or discrimination,” González-Rojas said in a statement.
González-Rojas said that it’s time for New York to join states including Washington, New Jersey and California in passing a ban on NDAs.
The legislation has also been introduced in the state senate by Alessandra Biaggi, who represents portions of the Bronx and Westchester, and Andrew Gounardes, of south Brooklyn.
“Non-disclosure agreements have been used again and again by employers to silence survivors of workplace harassment and discrimination and protect abusers,” Biaggi said in a statement. “By passing the Stop Silencing Survivors Act we can put the power back in the hands of employees –– giving them the agency to share their experiences when and if they so choose.”
The legislation has the backing of advocacy groups that want to end workplace discrimination.
“Concealment clauses like NDAs and non-disparagement agreements are tools to keep dirty laundry under wraps and ensure that the culture of workplace toxicity continues to thrive unabated,” said Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky of the advocacy group Lift Our Voices. “With this legislation, New York State is taking a momentous step in ensuring that survivors can finally demand a more respectful and inclusive workplace, free of fear and retaliation.”