Fighting for Women's Equality

Wired: How to Pierce the Secrecy Around Sexual Harassment Cases

December 4, 2017 | by

Wired discussed the use of non-disclosure agreements in silencing sexual harassment cases and how current common practices perpetuate abuse and harassment.

Advocates say there are ways to make the process of adjudicating harassment claims more equitable and transparent without banning NDAs. “This is the moment to seize, to be creative,” says Noreen Farrell, executive director of Equal Rights Advocates, a nonprofit focused on expanding opportunity for women. “Silence has only made workplaces across the country worse.”

Farrell suggests that employers be required to reveal prior complaints against a harasser when discussing a new settlement, even if the allegations were confidential and the details remained secret.

If a victim knew that her harasser was a repeat offender, “She might go to the police. She might demand that the harasser be terminated, and certainly she would consider that she needs substantially more money,” says Farrell.

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