Senator proposes new bill to limit inappropriate use of NDAs in settlements
An independent senator has proposed new legislation to limit the inappropriate use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in settlements between employers and employees.
Senator Lynn Ruane is preparing a private member’s bill which would amend the Employment Equality Act 1998 to enshrine employees’ right to independent legal advice before signing an NDA as well as their right to refuse, The Sunday Times reports.
The senator for the University of Dublin constituency believes that NDAs are being inappropriately used to cover up sexual harassment or discrimination.
Senator Ruane said: “If a potential offence has been committed, I don’t think it’s good we have a tool that basically ensures it will not be reported.
“It’s not of benefit to the victim or anybody who will come in contact with the perpetrator. If an employer is negotiating an NDA to hide incidents of abuse, bullying or bad character, and then provides a glowing reference so the person is free to move on elsewhere, then they are failing in their duty of care.”
The use of NDAs in settlements has come under increased scrutiny since the #MeToo movement. The UK government announced plans to reform NDAs in 2019, though the legislation subsequently stalled during the Covid-19 pandemic.