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New legislation to address the misuse of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)

The Cabinet Office has announced plans for new legislation to clean up the use of NDAs in discrimination cases. The proposed legislation will prohibit NDAs being used to prevent individuals from disclosing information to the police, regulated health and care professionals, or legal professionals, such as a doctor, lawyer, or social worker.

NDAs that do not adhere to the new requirements will be “legally void.”

As per the guidance released, the updated legislation will also:

●     “ensure employers make clear the limitations of a confidentiality clause, in plain English, within a settlement agreement and in a written statement for an employee, so individuals signing them fully understand what they are signing and their rights

●     extend current legislation so that individuals signing NDAs will get independent legal advice on the limitations of a confidentiality clause – including making clear that information can still be disclosed to police, regulated health and care professionals, or legal professionals regardless of an NDA

●     introduce new enforcement measures to deal with confidentiality clauses that do not comply with legal requirements - for example, an NDA in a settlement agreement that does not follow new legislative requirements will be legally void”

This announcement follows a consultation launched by the government in March 2019 around the issue of using confidentiality clauses in an employment contract.

The reforms to NDAs form part of a wider response to sexual harassment in the workplace.

Posted on 5 September, 2019 by Ortolan

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