The Bigger Picture with NDA’s
The Bigger Picture with NDA’s
Non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s) cases have become a prominent talking point in recent months, various scandals have come to light regarding some previously well respected individuals like Harvey Weinstein, Sir Phillip Green and Donald Trump.
After the Hollywood NDA scandals first broke, the spotlight began to focus on how leading figures in various industries had be allowed to get away with sexual harassment acts for so long. This led to the review of the potential misuse of NDA’s within the workplace.
There is a growing global consensus that NDA’s have been abused. A report by the ‘Women and Equalities Select Committee’ suggests a clean-up in the use of NDA’s and all discrimination claims should take place.
Government & Regulators Action.
The Human Rights Commission has prepared a sexual harassment code of practise as agreed by the UK government. The government’s final proposals introduce further legislations to ensure:
- Independent legal advice given to individuals that sign a confidentiality clause is increased.
- A confidentiality clause cannot prevent disclosure to health and care professionals, legal professionals and the police.
- The potential limitations in confidentially clauses are clearly set out in employment contracts.
- Further guidance for the legal professionals which are responsible for drafting non-disclosure and settlement agreements.
Is dealing with complaints enough?
As the discussion about NDA’s develops, the public and news outlets focus shifts to the end process. It is vital for the employers to get the NDA’s right, but more so important to avoid the need for an NDA in the first place.
When a complaint is raised, it is important that a properly resourced and robust complaints procedure is in place. It could be argued that complaint handling is only part of the solution and that any form of reported workplace harassment is one too many as there could be numerous reports of incidents that have not be reported.
Working towards an inclusive culture.
Setting a fair and firm example when dealing with workplace complaints sends an important message about creating a respectful and inclusive culture. There is no quick fix to solve workplace harassment as every working environment and harassment issue differs. Although there are some basic practises which should be involved in every workplace regardless of the sector. Some of these are;
- Strong Leadership – A strong leader within a workplace gives confidence to others that they can be themselves at work. Those with power at the workplace can been seen as role models, it is important that the vision and values are widely known and that the role models are leading examples of the company’s vision and values
- Set an Example – An excellent way to demonstrate that workplace harassment is not tolerated is to set the bar in terms of the harshest penalties which will be applied from these issues. This will not only prevent the potential employee from harassing in the first place but also create a workplace environment in which harassment is never tolerated.
- When is it too far – A big issue in the workplace is knowing where to draw the line. There are many cases of workplace “banter” or “humour” which can be misinterpreted or taken the wrong way. Although in many cases it is harmless workplace fun, the effects on the recipient can be long-lasting and have the potential to cause both financial and brand perception damage. It is important that boundaries are clearly stated and known throughout the workplace to prevent this.
If you would like further information on NDA’s and how you can improve your office workplace environment, please contact the HPC team today.