Women and Equalities Committee publishes report on the use of NDAs in discrimination cases

The Women and Equalities Committee published their report on ‘The use of non-disclosure agreements in discrimination cases’ earlier this week. Farore Law submitted oral and written evidence to the Committee’s inquiry last year, and we are glad to see that our evidence was cited by the Committee in its report.

Amongst other things, the Committee concluded that:

"There is a clear need for action to ensure that confidentiality, non-derogatory and other clauses cannot be drafted in such a way that they lack clarity about what the effect of the clauses are and, importantly, about the types of disclosure that they cannot prevent.”

The report is available to view on the Parliament.uk website here.

Harassment and bullying in the House of Commons

Dame Laura Cox QC published her Report into the Bullying and Harassment of House of Commons staff on October 15 2018. Suzanne McKie QC assisted the inquiry by making legal submissions related to the law of harassment, discrimination, and vicarious liability through the Centre for Women’s Justice.

A copy of the Report is available here.

Sexual harassment is widespread in British industry: Women and Equalities Committee Report

The Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee made a number of significant recommendations in its Report on sexual harassment in the workplace, after concluding that sexual harassment is widespread in British industry. The recommendations include:

  • re-introducing protection against Third Party harassment;

  • extending to 6 months the limitation periods in Tribunals;

  • a statutory Code of Practice on Harassment; and

  • that NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) should clearly allow the person who has signed them to still report the matter to the police and regulatory bodies.

The Report is available here.

Suzanne McKie QC provides evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee inquiry on sexual harassment in the workplace

Suzanne McKie QC provided evidence to the Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace. Zelda Perkins, former assistant to Harvey Weinstein, was among the other witnesses present.

NDAs - Non Disclosure Agreements - have been used to prevent employees from reporting sexual harassment to the police and enabled individuals and organisations to avoid the consequences of repeated offences. The groundswell of public indignation over this abuse of power and position (that is reflected in #MeToo and has caused the spectacular collapse of the career of film producer Harvey Weinstein and others) has focussed the attention of our lawmakers on how well the rights of individual employees are protected in practice

Parliamentary Select Committees are the forum where MPs gather evidence and consult expert opinion to understand better how the law works at present and to consider whether changes need to be made.

As you will see from the clip below, Suzanne McKie QC is very clear on where she stands on this matter.

 
 

NDAs and confidentiality agreements: Parliamentary inquiry launched

MPs have launched an inquiry into workplace harassment, with particular regard to the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in the context of sexual harassment.

Although this may be welcome, we have to be very clear about what benefits there are to claimants in the use of confidentiality agreements as part of a settlement following harassment and/or termination of employment following their being harassed. We should be slow to outlaw these, as claimants/victims should be given a choice as to what is right for them in order to move on and draw a line under the trauma. No victim should be forcibly prevented (directly or indirectly) from entering into a settlement agreement with the alleged perpetrator (or those liable for the perpetrator's actions). No victim should be criticised for refusing or not feeling able to litigate on the matter or report the matter to the police - to criticise them in this way places blame or responsibility (yet again) on the victim.

See here for the relevant BBC article.