November 14, 2022

Speak Out Act Poised for Enactment

On November 14th, the Executive Office of the President published a statement supporting Congress’ passage of the Speak Out Act.

“This bipartisan legislation would prohibit the enforcement of nondisclosure
agreements (NDAs) and nondisparagement clauses between employers and employees and independent contractors, and between goods and services providers and consumers, that were in place before a sexual assault or harassment dispute. S. 4524 would enable survivors to speak out
about workplace sexual assault and harassment.”

If your company uses any type of employment agreement such as non-compete, no-solicitation, non-disparagement, severance, that includes any non-disclosure or confidentiality provisions, watch for the President’s signature to enact this new law and then consult with your company’s employment counsel to determine if any changes need to be made to any agreements currently in use.

On the Horizon?  I recently shared with a colleague my concern that this well-intended legislation may send a message of exclusion by leaving out every person who is harassed or discriminated against on any and every basis other than sex. Then I read in the statement, “The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with the Congress to advance broader legislation that addresses the range of issues implicated in NDAs and nondisparagement clauses, including those related to discrimination on the basis of race, unfair labor practices, and other violations.” Stay tuned.