A bill aimed at empowering workers to come forward about employment discrimination and harassment was introduced in the California state senate recently. Specifically at issue are provisions of non-disclosure agreements many workers are compelled to sign when settling employment lawsuits or simply as a condition of employment. The Silenced No More Act would statutorily ban such provisions in settlements that involve cases of discrimination or abuse.
Sponsor of the bill Sen. Connie Levya told CNN that it is unacceptable for companies to effectively place a gag order on workers who have been victims of discrimination, harassment or assault. The idea is not just to give these workers back their voices, but also to serve as a means of accountability against perpetrators and corporations that cover for them.
The measure builds on an earlier #MeToo era law called the STAND Act, which was passed three years ago. That law prohibits settlement agreements that bar workers from speaking up about employment sexual harassment and abuse. The SNMA would extend those prohibition to other forms of workplace discrimination and harassment, including those based on race, sexual orientation, religion, etc.