The California legislature has taken a further step toward allowing employees to talk about any harassment and discrimination they’ve experienced in the workplace. Late last month, it passed the “Silenced No More Act.”
If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the bill into law, employees will be free to speak out about any type of mistreatment they suffered based on their gender, race or other protected class – even if they signed a non-disclosure or non-disparagement agreement.
Law would end agreements that keep employees from speaking out about abuses
The legislation was spearheaded by State Sen. Connie Leyva. The Chino representative was also behind the Stand Together Against Non-Disclosures (STAND) Act. That legislation, passed and signed into law in the wake of the #MeToo movement, prohibits employers from preventing victims of sexual abuse or harassment from going public with their experience – even if they had signed any type of confidentiality agreement.
The Silenced No More Act would expand on the STAND Act to allow those who have been the victims of virtually any type of illegal workplace behavior from telling their stories publicly. It would essentially end the use of employment agreements for the purpose of keeping that information secret.
Harassment, discrimination often based on multiple factors
One advocate for the legislation noted that harassment is often based on more than one characteristic. She said, “We have multiple identities and you often can’t separate those different characteristics.”
As a California business owner, you’re well aware that our state is ahead of many when it comes to protecting employees. That makes it crucial to stay on top of the law – if not a bit ahead of it — as you draft and enforce your employment agreements. Having legal guidance can protect you from costly, time-consuming and reputation-harming litigation.