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Will the Harvey Weinstein Scandal Affect Nondisclosure Provisions in Settlement Agreements?

"n the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, a bill sponsored by a New York State senator (Brad Hoylman) and New York State Assembly member (Nily Rozic) after the Roger Ailes scandal is receiving renewed attention. To recap, Weinstein has been accused by dozens of women of lewd behavior—and even rape—over a period of decades, which accusations led to his termination from The Weinstein Company and resignation from its board of directors. Many of Weinstein’s accusers reached settlements that included nondisclosure agreements. Hoylman and Rozic’s proposed New York bill would make null and void any provision in confidential settlement agreements that had the effect of concealing claims of harassment, as well as other labor violations, like discrimination, retaliation and nonpayment of wages, i.e., nondisclosure agreements. The purpose behind the bill is to prevent alleged harassers from silencing their accusers. California passed a law last year prohibiting confidentiality clauses in civil settlements designed to cover acts that would be considered felony sexual offenses, which is a higher threshold than many cases of harassment."


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