According to the Associated Press, a new California law allows employees to speak publicly about boss harassment or discrimination without risking loss of salary or benefits.
The 2018 state law compels companies that deal with cases of sexual harassment, assault or discrimination to sign an undocumented contract. Such agreements were a way to silence victims and save serial offenders from consequences.
New law signed by the governor. Gavin Newsroom.The AP said such secret settlements have been banned for other forms of discrimination, including on the basis of race, religion, gender and sexual orientation.
California Senator Connie Leiva authored the law, calling it the “Silent No More Act.”
“California workers should be able to speak fully – if they want to – when they face any form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace,” Leva said in a statement. “It is incomprehensible that the employer ever wants to silence the voices of survivors who are victims of racism, homosexuality, homosexuality or other attacks at work.”
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Other states, including Arizona, New Jersey, New Mexico and Tennessee, have laws that prohibit non-disclosure contracts in sexual harassment cases. But Leva’s office says California is the first state to ban non-disclosure agreements when a worker leaves the company.
The law is important in California, home to some of the world’s largest and most influential technology companies. The law was partially influenced by two black women who accused the San Francisco-based social media company Penterist of salary discrimination and retaliation.
Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks resolved their grievances and left the company. But when he decided to speak publicly about his experiences, California law protected him only if he spoke about the gender-based part of his complaint, not racial discrimination.
Pinterest co-founder and CEO has said he supports the law.
There are some exceptions to California law. Companies will still not be required to keep employees’ names confidential and to identify them, but only if the employee asks companies to do so. The law states that companies cannot require employees to remain silent.