For as long as employers have settled sexual harassment claims, there have been settlement agreements containing strict non-disclosure or confidentiality provisions designed to conceal those settlements and prevent victims from sharing their stories. The New Jersey legislature is looking to change all that.
Currently pending in New Jersey are two bills which, if passed, would prohibit employers from including non-disclosure provisions in many of their settlement agreements. Not only in those agreements concerning sexual harassment claims, but also in those resolving discrimination and retaliation claims. The bills borrow heavily from the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination in that employees would have two years within which to file a lawsuit against an employer who tried to enforce a non-disclosure provision, and employees could recover their attorneys’ fees if they win. Additionally, employees could sue for retaliation if their employer interferes with their rights by taking an adverse action against them (e.g., termination, demotion, pay cut, passed over for promotion) because they refused to sign an unlawful non-disclosure agreement.
Our employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP are always on the pulse of what is happening in the area of employment law. We will update this blog if, and when the bills pass or if there are other developments.