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In Defence of Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)

Posted: Friday, 4 January 2019 @ 13:43

With the media coverage, the Government plans for legislation and an online petition there is some talk in the wake of allegations against Sir Philip Green of eliminating or limiting Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs).

An NDA in the scenario as painted by the recent media reports can be defined that a party in return for a financial pay out, are prevented from talking about allegations of conduct ranging from systematic bullying, intimidation 
and abuse to sexual harassment and even assault.

The growing controversy over the use of NDAs is understood to have led the Government to consider a ban for allegations of workplace sexual harassment.

Under the plans, it has been reported to the Telegraph, NDAs will be made illegal in cases where victims have brought complaints of sexual harassment.

A Whitehall source said: “The intention is to stop NDAs being used to stop the victims of sexual harassment from going to the police, and to introduce a new onus on employers to make it absolutely explicit to their staff that these agreements cannot be used in cases where a potential crime has been committed.”

It is worth considering that it takes two to tango and the reason that NDAs (Settlement/Compromise Agreements) are particularly appealing to employees is it saves them money in legal fees, normally gives them a possibly significant sum of money(maybe more than what they could receive in Court) and avoids the stress of going to Court.

If one has the view that NDAs are so bad one does not have to sign them. You simply proceed and take your matter to Tribunal/Court which will possibly be heard in open Court with maybe media interest.

And/or you go to the police to report the criminal conduct. 

I have a number of clients who despite the trauma of sexually harassment, possible receipt of criminal conduct were glad to sign a NDA as it saved them from the stress of Court and gave them money.

If NDAs are banned stand by for more stress for employees as what incentive is there for a bullying/sexist organisation to settle cases?