Earlier this year, Senate Bill 331 was initially drafted and presented to expand the prohibitions set forth in the Stand Together Against Non-Disclosures Act (“STAND”). STAND prohibits provisions in settlement agreements that require the non-disclosure of factual information set forth in civil actions or complaints filed in administrative actions related to sexual assault, sexual harassment, workplace harassment or discrimination based on sex, and harassment or discrimination based on sex by the owner of housing accommodation.
The final version of Senate Bill 331, the “Silenced No More Act”, will expand these prohibitions in order to forbid language in settlement agreements that restrict or prevent the disclosure of factual information of claims related to all forms of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. This means that disclosure of factual information regarding claims of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation based on race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, familial status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or veteran or military status, cannot be prohibited by settlement agreements.
Senate Bill 331 is also aimed at prohibiting an employer from requiring an employee to sign agreements made as a condition of employment, severance agreements or agreements in exchange for a raise or bonus that deny an employee the right to disclose information about unlawful acts in the workplace.
STAND was enacted in response to the #MeToo movement which argued that secret settlements played a significant part in shielding perpetrators of sexually inappropriate behaviors. Senate Bill 331 has been passed by the senate and assembly. If signed by the governor, it will become effective as of January 1, 2022.
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