A number of states have recently considered legislation restricting the right of employers to use Nondisclosure Agreements (NDAs) and/or mandatory arbitration agreements to resolve sexual harassment claims. The bills were among a number of measures introduced in state legislatures in response to the #MeToo movement.
We are now aware of at least two states – Washington and New York – that have enacted restrictions on using NDAs and/or mandatory arbitration agreements in conjunction with sexual harassment allegations. We expect more states to follow.
The New York law, effective July 11, 2018, prohibits employers from including in a settlement agreement any term that would prevent the disclosure of the underlying sexual harassment facts, and prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to agree to arbitrate sexual harassment claims. The Washington law, effective June 7, 2018, prohibits NDAs entered into as a condition of employment that prevent an employee from publicly disclosing sexual harassment or sexual assault, and prohibits a mandatory arbitration agreement for any claim arising under state or federal discrimination laws.
NT Lakis attorneys have prepared a brief summary of each of these new laws. Employers that may be affected by them are encouraged to consult with legal counsel for a detailed analysis of the laws’ potential impacts.
Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.