On December 7, 2022, President Biden signed the Speak Out Act into law. The key provision of this Act provides: “With respect to a sexual assault dispute or sexual harassment dispute, no nondisclosure clause or nondisparagement clause agreed to before the dispute
arises shall be judicially enforceable in instances in which conduct is alleged to have violated Federal, Tribal, or State law.” The law is codified at 42 U.S.C. § 19401 to 19404.
This law was unfortunately necessary because many employers – large and small – now require employees and putative independent contractors to sign ridiculous confidentiality agreements that limit what can be said about their employers. During internal workplace investigations, some deceptive lawyers and investigators insinuate to employees that they cannot discuss the subject matter of their sexual harassment complaint with anyone else, by pointing to such overbroad confidentiality agreements. These deceptive lawyers will remind employees that what is discussed in the interview is confidential, suggesting that the phrase, "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas", applies to such interviews. Remember - such warnings are unlawful, and employees have the right to talk about these topics in public and with coworkers.
If you have questions about the Speak Out Act or the rights of employees, you should contact counsel. Don Peterson and Sean McGivern of Graybill & Hazlewood have successfully represented employees in sexual harassment cases.
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