New guidance by the Law Society on NDAs – Non-disclosure agreements – has recommended Protect as an advice centre for whistleblowers as ‘whistleblowing law is complicated’.
NDAs, sometimes called a confidentiality clause, or gagging clause, allows the employer and worker to resolve a dispute confidentially without going to a tribunal or court. An individual may also be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement before starting a project, to stop business secrets and sensitive information from becoming public.
NDAs have hit the headlines in recent months over the Harvey Weinstein and Philip Green scandals and allegations of covering up bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination.
The Law Society guidance, ‘NDAs and confidentiality agreements – what you need to know as a worker’ makes clear an NDA cannot be used to stop whistleblowing in the public interest. The guidance also recognises ‘whistleblowing law is complicated’ so whistleblowers expert advice from solicitors, or Protect.
Protect Chief Executive, Francesca West said, “We are pleased to be promoted by the Law Society who recognise our work supporting whistleblowers with expert legal advice. Whistleblowing legislation is complex, as are many of the cases we handle. The advice we provide to nearly 3,000 individuals each year is unique as it is legally privileged and is focussed on supporting the individual to speak up and stop harm.”
Protect have spoken out against the improper use of NDAs, and invited to give evidence to both the Women & Equalities Select Committee and the Government’s consultation on NDAs where we stated a need for clearer, plainer, English surrounding NDAs, a stronger regulatory framework to tackle toxic workplace culture and a requirement for lawyers to explain the limits of NDAs on future disclosures.
In July, the government announced it would open a consultation into proposed legislation.