In what could signify a meaningful step forward for the #MeToo movement, Washington State has passed legislation aimed at prohibiting employers from using nondisclosure agreements to silence victims of sexual harassment.
As part of a package of bills signed yesterday by Governor Jay Inslee, the new law bans NDAs that explicitly prohibit employees from disclosing sexual assault or harassment. Such contracts are routinely used as legal ammunition against victims while serving to protect powerful wrongdoers–a combination that can foster a pervasive and protracted culture of abuse within an organization.
A second bill signed yesterday requires employee contracts and arbitration agreements to include language protecting an employee’s right to file sexual assault-realted complaints, and it voids contracts that don’t. In total, the bill package included four pieces of legislation aimed at combating the problem, positioning the Pacific Northwestern state as a leader for the post-Weinstein era. Here’s more context from the Seattle Times.
Now let’s hope other states follow suit.