Law ends nondisclosure agreements in sexual harassment cases

Serial sexual predators in the workplace no longer can hide behind nondisclosure agreements thanks to a new state law that went into effect in May. In a move highly applauded by New Mexico residents, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a law that prevents private employers from insisting upon nondisclosure agreements for out-of-court settlements in cases involving sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

With this, New Mexico became the latest state to ban nondisclosure agreements. This marks the latest progress the state and country have made toward protecting victims of workplace sexual harassment. This needed change has roots in the #MeToo movement, which gained a foothold in the country in fall 2017.

Empowering victims and having courage

Upon settling with an employer, victims previously subjected to trauma, abuse and assault were required to keep quiet. Such agreements caused further damage to victims by protecting the reputations of offenders, who were essentially given the green light to continue their unlawful behavior.

Workplace sexual harassment can come in many forms. Here are a few of them:

  • The seeking of sexual favors along with unwelcomed sexual advances
  • Inappropriate touching
  • Inappropriate and threatening stares as well as offensive comments about you and your body
  • The sharing of offensive jokes, remarks and pornography
  • The asking of personal questions related to sexual experiences
  • Persistently wanting to meet with you alone outside of the workplace

Sexual predators in the workplace assume that they have the power. Not true, not ever. This new law represents another legal weapon that empowers victims of workplace sexual harassment. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, it is crucial to contact your human resources department. Then, take the additional step of talking with an experienced employment law attorney.