Bosses to be banned from silencing victims of workplace sexual harassment
BULLY-BOY bosses are to be banned from silencing sexual harassment victims in the workplace.
Confidentiality clauses will be ripped up to allow staff to tell the police about wrongdoing.
Bosses will be banned from silencing victims of workplace sexual harassment[/caption]
Misuse of non-disclosure agreements – known as NDAs – will also be stopped from covering up abuse, racism or assault.
The government say they won’t tolerate such agreements to “silence and intimidate victims to stop them speaking out”.
The move will mean cops, healthcare staff, doctors and lawyers will be allowed to know the contents of a gagging order.
The move follows Sir Philip Green using the agreements to silence several claims of harassment and bullying at his Arcadia group – claims which he denies.
Employers will also have to make the NDAs clearer and ensure independent legal advice about any silence clauses.
Any agreement that doesn’t comply to the new laws being drawn up will be void.
The new legislation will stamp out misuse, tackle unacceptable workplace cultures, protect individuals and create a level playing field for businesses that comply with the law
Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst
Firms have used NDAs to protect commercially-sensitive information but bosses have come under scrutiny for their alleged use of the clauses in response to abuse allegations following the “me too” movement.
The confidentiality clauses can’t stop individuals from reporting wrongdoing in the public interest to the police or raising issues at an employment tribunal.
Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst said: “The vast majority of businesses comply with the law and use NDAs legitimately – from protecting commercially sensitive information to preventing information being shared with competitors.
“As we have seen in the news recently, there are a handful of employers using NDAs to cover-up criminal acts in the workplace, including sexual harassment, assault and racist discrimination.
“We will not tolerate the use of NDAs to silence and intimidate victims from speaking out.
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“The new legislation will stamp out misuse, tackle unacceptable workplace cultures, protect individuals and create a level playing field for businesses that comply with the law.”
Chief Executive of the Equality & Human Rights Commission Rebecca Hilsenrath said: “Harassment and discrimination should never go unanswered and unchallenged just because victims are prevented from speaking out.
“This new legislation will help to end ambiguity about employees’ rights and stop the misuse of NDAs to protect corporate and personal reputations and obstruct justice.”
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