14 June 2019 #Employment
The Women and Equalities Select Committee (“WESC”) has called for the government to either ban or reset the parameters on which NDAs are used by employers to silence employees’ allegations of unlawful discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
The WESC has commented that it is “completely unacceptable that allegations of unlawful discrimination and harassment in the workplace are routinely covered up by employers with legally drafted NDAs”. It has also been found that, as a result of the use of NDAs, such allegations are not investigated properly, or sometimes not at all, by employers.
The imbalance of power between employers and employees, particularly in large organisations, is said to be one of the “key drivers” behind the use of NDAs. Some employers are using their significant resources to put considerable pressure on employees who pursue allegations of discrimination or harassment at tribunal. Employees are therefore often left feeling as though they have little option but to accept settlement on the terms offered by their employer.
The WESC has also expressed further concerns that the online publication of tribunal judgements has increased the risk of claimants being blacklisted by future employers, which is acting as a further deterrent to potential claimants bringing such claims and therefore agreeing to enter into NDAs.
The recommendations submitted within the report are that the Government should: