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New federal law ends forced silence for sexual harassment victims

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2022 | Sexual Harassment

It is standard practice for many businesses in St. Petersburg to require new hires to sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) as a condition of employment. NDAs are useful in preventing current and former workers from disclosing trade secrets and other confidential information.

But in recent years, employers in Florida and across the country have used NDAs for a more sinister purpose: to force victims of sexual harassment to give up their right to speak publicly about their experience. Now, a new bill recently signed into law by President Joe Biden will make it much easier for people to speak up and expose wrongdoing without having to worry about a lawsuit.

How the law works

The new law prohibits employers from enforcing terms in any NDA that would ban the employee from disclosing they were sexually harassed at work. The law applies to any NDA signed before the harassment took place. An NDA signed afterward can still be used against a worker who speaks up. But such documents tend to be signed at the start of a new job, meaning that the law should have far-reaching consequences.

For one thing, it will make it easier for victims to discuss their stories with the press and online. Putting the spotlight on harassment — and employers that do nothing to stop it — helps reduce this unacceptable behavior. It can also help victims feel that they are not alone and that they have the right to take legal action to stop it. A lawsuit can also help you collect compensation for the damage to your career, emotional trauma, and more.