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When Non-Disclosure Agreements Protect Criminals

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Many Florida residents have likely heard about the sexual assault charges about film producer Harvey Weinstein. Dozens of actresses have recently spoken about how Weinstein would lure them to parties and hotel rooms and have sex with them. Many of the incidents happened years ago, but the women involved have kept quiet until now. Why? Because they had signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

The actresses who worked with Weinstein knew that he was manipulative, but did not know that he was using his power to engage in nonconsensual sex with the women who starred in his movies. They never said anything because they did not want to break the terms of the agreement, but that this point, they didn’t care and wanted everyone to know.

So this scandal raises the question: Can an NDA protect someone who engages in criminal activity? If a supervisor assaults an employee, are they not allowed to speak up and alert the authorities?

Why NDAs are Used

Companies use NDAs when hiring new employees. These employees are often given access to confidential information. As such, companies don’t want these employees to share the company’s ideas, products or other trade secrets with others. They also don’t want employees to cast the company in a negative light if they were to leave their jobs.

What NDAs Do Not Do

NDAs, however, cannot be used to protect someone who has committed a crime. If your boss has raped or assaulted you, for example, an NDA or any other document cannot prevent you from taking action. Do not feel the need to suffer in silence simply because you signed an NDA. An NDA also cannot limit your right to a lawsuit, so you can—and definitely should—file a charge.

Filing a Charge

Those facing sexual harassment or any type of harassment or discrimination in the workplace can file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The agency is given 180 days to investigate any charges. After that period has elapsed, the victim can sue the defendant in court.

Many women, however, do not ever bring about charges against those who have assaulted them in the workplace because they are afraid of having to go public. They are scrutinized by the media and if they go to court, they are forced to relive the traumatic experience all over again. Therefore, many victims prefer to keep quiet and try to forget about the experience.

Learn More About Non-Disclosure Agreements

Contrary to popular belief, a non-disclosure agreement doesn’t require you to keep quiet about everything in the workplace. If your boss has hurt you or committed some other type of crime, you need to speak up to prevent others from being dealt the same fate.

Orlando non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement lawyer B.F. Godfrey from Godfrey Legal has decades of experience dealing with such documents. He knows the laws and understands what is and what is not covered under such a contract. For legal help, contact Godfrey Legal at (407) 890-0023 for a consultation.

Resources:

forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2016/03/10/the-key-elements-of-non-disclosure-agreements/#4f7f1b2c627d

economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2017/10/we-did-not-know

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