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California bar forced nondisclosure clauses in severance agreements

California would bar companies from requiring non-disclosure agreements in settlements with employees over claims of workplace harassment under a bill signed into law Thursday in a victory for tech workers who champion the proposal.

The Silenced No More Act was co-sponsored by Ifoma Ozoma, who left Pinterest Inc. last year after expressing concerns about gender and racial discrimination, and also received support from organizations including the TechEquity Collaborative that support technology. and advocate for workers in other industries.

Supporters say the law, which goes into effect January 1, will enable workers to speak up about experiences of harassment and discrimination without fear that companies could tear up severance packages. They say allowing more people to publicly address workplace treatment could help curb systemic racism and other problems plaguing many companies.

The new law says settlement agreements cannot prevent or prohibit workers from disclosing facts related to harassment and discrimination claims filed against the company. It also prohibits settlements from including nondiscrimination clauses that prevent people from talking about illegal acts in the workplace.

As part of efforts to respond to the #metoo stories, California lawmakers three years ago banned companies from enforcing nondisclosure agreements, or NDAs, in cases of sexual assault, sexual harassment or sexual discrimination, concerns that From that secret deals were allowing the companies to be retained. problematic cultures.

 

The new law covers privacy in a wide range of cases, including racial discrimination and harassment based on disability.

Ozoma said last year that as a black woman, she was singled out by Pinterest managers for certain tasks and underpaid. Supporters said the new law would help hold companies accountable for promises made to offer a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Pinterest signed on as a supporter of the law.

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