Speak Out Act: New Federal Law Prohibits Prior Agreements Silencing Sexual Harassment Victims
This week, President Biden signed the Speak Out Act into law, the most recent victory for advocates against workplace sexual assault and sexual harassment. The Speak Out Act makes prior non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses in agreements (or “NDAs”) unenforceable when the parties later become engaged in a dispute regarding sexual assault or sexual harassment.
The first substantive section of the Speak Out Act lays out a series of findings regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment that paint a clear picture of the need for the law. As stated by the Act, “eighty-one percent of women and forty-three percent of men have experienced some form of sexual assault or harassment throughout their lifetime,” and “one in three women has faced sexual harassment in the workplace during her career.” Despite these staggering statistics, “an estimated 87 to 94 percent of those who experience sexual harassment never file a formal complaint.” CONTINUE READING ›