The Nation: How to End the Silence Around Sexual-Harassment Settlements
The Nation spoke with Executive Director Noreen Farrell about policy proposals to end confidential sexual harassment settlements.
“There’s a tendency in the public and legal debate to say that abolishing NDAs in settlement agreements is the make-or-break solution to the problems we’re trying to solve, but advocates and workers need there to be other options, and policy-makers need to know there are other ways to handle the problem,” said Noreen Farrell, executive director of Equal Rights Advocates, where she litigates sexual-harassment and -discrimination cases.
Framing sexual harassment as a public risk and safety hazard might also help litigators in the few states with so-called “sunshine in litigation” laws push back against confidentiality provisions in harassment settlements, according to Farrell.
In Florida for example, confidentiality clauses are banned in settlements that involve a public hazard, like a toxic-waste dump. For egregious harassment cases like Weinstein’s, Farrell said, “there’s a great case to be made that those are a public hazard.”
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