Modifications to the “Silence No More Act” Go into Effect

Many employers, especially large corporations with a public image, may be more concerned about the optics of workplace discrimination and harassment claims than the cost of paying a complainant the requested amount of damages. Prior to 2019, California employers were permitted to require a sexual harassment or discrimination complainant to accept confidentiality and non-disparagement agreements as part of a settlement to resolve the employee’s claims. Many employers would offer generous settlements to aggrieved employees that were conditioned upon the employee agreeing to be silent in public about their claim.

In 2019, the California legislature passed a law (signed by Governor Newsom), commonly known as the “Silence No More Act.” this legislation forbade employers from requiring a confidentiality or non-disparagement clause as part of the settlement of an employee’s claim of harassment or discrimination based upon sex. The passage of this law prevented employers from essentially buying the silence of sexual harassment and discrimination victims, instead of allowing them to share their stories and warn others about potentially harmful and hostile work environments.

A recently published review of California employment law changes in 2021 discusses how the Silence No More Act provisions have been extended to protect other classes of people complaining of workplace discrimination or harassment. The new legislation states that an employer may not require silence from an employee/complainant who alleges any type of workplace discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. The passage of this new law expands the rights of aggrieved California employees and prevents employers from refusing to pay settlement amounts after a former employee is caught discussing their experiences in public or with the media.

The recent changes to the Silence No More Act will hopefully encourage more victims of workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation to come forward and also discuss their experiences with the greater public. Without transparency and honest discussion, it is hard to hold companies accountable for harmful workplace cultures that may encourage or allow discrimination and harassment. Moving forward, California lawmakers appear to be protecting employees’ rights from unlawful treatment by their bosses and management.

Victims of Workplace Harassment and Discrimination Should Be Listened To

If you or a loved one has been a victim of workplace discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, your employer may have an interest in keeping your story from going public. Victims of unfair treatment in the workplace should not have to choose between being compensated for their losses and speaking out about the unfair treatment. With the passage of the modifications to the Silence No More Act, employees will not have to make this choice. Unfortunately, employers and corporations may not be pleased with the new law, and some will undoubtedly refuse to follow it. If you have been harassed or discriminated against, seeking a strong California employment law attorney to help with your claim can ensure that your employer is required to follow the law. The qualified California employment lawyers at the Nourmand Law Firm will assist you with your claim, and help you be sure you’re not being asked to sign away any rights or protections that have been enshrined in California law. For a free, no-obligation consultation with a California employment law attorney, call 310-553-3600 today.



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