A recently adopted California law, SB 331, expands existing restrictions on the use of non-disclosure provisions in employee agreements, moving beyond sexual harassment to also include other forms of harassment prohibited by law—a further reminder of the importance of employee harassment prevention training. Such training can help to head off harassment from arising in the workplace, protecting both organizations and employees and avoiding the need for major legal battles.
The SB 331 Legislative Counsel’s Digest reads as follows:
Existing law prohibits a settlement agreement from preventing the disclosure of factual information regarding specified acts related to a claim filed in a civil action or a complaint filed in an administrative action. These acts include sexual assault, as defined; sexual harassment, as defined; an act of workplace harassment or discrimination based on sex, failure to prevent such an act, or retaliation against a person for reporting such an act; and an act of harassment or discrimination based on sex by the owner of a housing accommodation, as defined, or retaliation against a person for reporting such an act.
This bill would clarify that this prohibition includes provisions which restrict the disclosure of the information described above. For purposes of agreements entered into on or after January 1, 2022, the bill would also expand the prohibition to include acts of workplace harassment or discrimination not based on sex and acts of harassment or discrimination not based on sex by the owner of a housing accommodation.
See additional analysis from Littler, the world’s largest employment law firm.