Accessibility Tools

Skip to main content

Another New Federal Law Bans Non-Disclosure Clauses and Non-disparagement Clauses in Sexual Harassment Agreements prior to the Dispute

Written on .

Another new law, known as The Speak Out Now Act, was signed into law by President Biden on December 7, 2022.  It supplements a prior law known as the Ending of Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, which prohibits mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment and sexual assault disputes, that President Biden signed earlier in 2022.  

The new act explicitly bans all non-disclosure clauses and non-disparagement clauses regarding a sexual assault or sexual harassment dispute that is "agreed to before the dispute arises. . . in which conduct is alleged to have violated Federal, Tribal, or State law."  The effect of the law is that as of December 7, 2022, all such clauses are unenforceable.  The prohibition applies to all agreements, regardless of when they were signed, as long as the sexual assault or sexual harassment dispute was brought on or after December 7, 2022.  

The statute does contain a provision indicating that nothing in it prohibits an employer and an employee from protecting trade secrets or proprietary information.  Further, it only applies to a sexual assault or a sexual harassment dispute.  Thus, the law does not apply to such non-disclosure clauses and non-disparagement clauses as part of a settlement agreement after a sexual harassment or sexual assault dispute arises.  This new law does not supersede more restrictive state laws, however.

This article is part of our February 2023 Newsletter.

View newsletter online

Download the newsletter as a PDF

Related Content

Get Email Updates

Receive newsletters and alerts directly in your email inbox. Sign up below.
texas flag
Congress passed a law in both Houses under the Congressional Review Act to reject the new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Joint Emp...
gaza on a map
While the death of George Floyd ignited one round of protest, the Gaza situation has created another such round of protest.  As a general...
pendulum
Some polls suggest that many employees desire their employers to take public positions on political/social issues.  As a result, employer...
filing cabinet handle
In a new "first," the EEOC has sued more than a dozen employers for not filing required reports that include the racial and sexual makeup...
submitting ballot into box
The United Auto Workers (UAW) was once arguably the most powerful union in the U.S. Each of the "Big Three" U.S. car manufacturers were U...
an hourglass sitting on rocks outside
In a move long anticipated by many court watchers, the Supreme Court on June 28, 2024, jettisoned a longstanding doctrine of deference to...