Sexual harassment and/or discrimination settlement agreements have often included confidentiality provisions or non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) prohibiting victims from disclosing terms of settlement and the underlying facts of their claim. Beginning January 1, 2019, however, any settlement agreement containing an NDA clause will be considered void.
In September of 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 820 (SB 820) into law. SB820 adds section 1001 to the Code of Civil Procedure, which bans any provision in a settlement agreement, entered into on or after January 1, 2019, that prevents the disclosure of factual information about claims of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or harassment or discrimination based on sex. Except where a public entity/official is a party, the claimant/accuser may request a provision that will shield their identity and facts that could lead to the discovery of his or her identity. Additionally, both parties can request that settlement amounts remain sealed.
Many are referring to SB820 as the “#MeToo Law” due to the #MeToo movement’s vocal criticism of NDAs for their belief that NDAs have been used to silence victims and protect abusers. While the attention surrounding the #MeToo movement has been focused on the entertainment industry, we understand sexual harassment occurs in all professions. This new law covers both public and private employees. Those who have been the victim of sexual harassment should contact an employment lawyer to seek justice and pursue compensation for their damages.