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California bars forced non-disclosure clauses in severance agreements

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Oct 7 (Reuters) – California will bar corporations from requiring non-disclosure agreements in settlements with staff over office harassment claims beneath a invoice signed into legislation on Thursday in a win for tech staff who championed the proposal.

The Silenced No Extra Act had been co-sponsored by Ifeoma Ozoma, who give up Pinterest Inc final yr after voicing considerations about gender and racial discrimination, and likewise drew backing from organizations together with TechEquity Collaborative that advocate for staff in tech and different industries.

Supporters say the legislation, which matches into impact Jan. 1, will allow staff to talk out about experiences of harassment and discrimination with out concern that corporations might tear up severance packages. They are saying permitting extra folks to publicly tackle office therapy might assist curb systemic racism and different issues ailing many corporations.

The brand new legislation says settlement agreements can’t forestall or limit staff from disclosing info associated to harassment and discrimination claims they’ve filed towards the corporate. It additionally bars settlements from together with non-disparagement clauses that cease folks from speaking about illegal acts within the office.

As a part of efforts to reply to #metoo tales, California lawmakers three years in the past banned corporations from imposing non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, in instances of sexual harassment, sexual assault or intercourse discrimination out of concern that secret offers had been permitting corporations to keep up problematic cultures.

The brand new legislation covers confidentiality in a broader vary of instances, together with racial discrimination and harassment based mostly on incapacity.

Ozoma final yr mentioned that as a Black girl, she was pushed apart by managers at Pinterest for some duties and underpaid. Supporters mentioned the brand new legislation will assist maintain corporations accountable to guarantees they’ve made to supply a various and inclusive office.

Pinterest signed on as a supporter of the laws.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Enhancing by Stephen Coates

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