THE BANNING OF NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS (NDAs)
What is an NDA
An NDA is a legal contract which confirms the confidential information shared between parties but which restricts access to third parties.
Misuse of NDAs
The debate around the use of NDAs and Settlement Agreements (SA’s) by employers since the Presidents Club Scandal continues. Here it was reported that hostesses were made to sign a 5-page NDA, which prohibited them from reporting their experiences of sexual harassment at the debauched ‘Men’s only party.’
A note for Employers
It is surprising to note that in some organisations, there is still a culture of unwanted sexual behaviour where touching, groping and sexual comments, is commonplace.
It is unlawful for an employee to be subjected to sexual harassment at work and complaints of this nature, should be taken seriously by an employer, and not squashed by offering an NDA or SA.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has stated that there should be an obligatory duty on employers, to protect staff from harassment and victimisation at work.
The EHRC has further recommended that employment tribunals should have the discretion to apply an uplift of up to 25% on the compensation awarded for a successful harassment claim, made against an employer.
Niki Avraam comments:
It is unethical to silence employees who have suffered from sexual harassment at work by way of a settlement agreement.
In the circumstances, a settlement agreement should only be offered:
- after all options have been exhausted by the employer to resolve a sexual harassment complaint; and
- where all parties are happy to proceed with this arrangement.
It is important that employers have the appropriate procedures in place to prevent sexual harassment at work. It is also very important to train senior members of staff and management on how to deal with complaints of this kind.
Having appropriate systems in place will prevent complaints of sexual harassment being made against your business and it will save you from:
- incurring substantial cost
- time; and
- most importantly, the reputation of the business.
Howat Avraam Solicitors can draft, amend and review your business’ current Equality at Work policies/procedures and provide specialist advice on non-disclosure agreements and settlement agreements.
To discuss any employment matter on a no obligation basis, please contact Niki Avraam, Employment Partner, on 020 3735 6708 or email Niki at Niki.Avraam@hasolicitors.co.uk. Alternatively, visit our website at www.howatavraamsolicitors.co.uk.