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Disclosing a means of protection: NDA

A woman went to HR with a complaint about her boss: he had propositioned her. She stayed in the job for a few months afterwards, but eventually left with a severance package. In exchange for the $40,000 package, she signed a nondisclosure agreement.

She had agreed "not disclose to any person or entity any information about anyone at the firm." She also agreed that she would not sue or disparage the firm.

Many would argue that both parties benefit from this type of agreement: the person who receives compensation as well as the firm that is protected from employment law litigation.

NDAs have been in the news in recent days after allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein surfaced. Some of the women who accused him of alleged sexual misconduct and assault said they had been prevented from previously speaking out by NDAs they had signed.

Nondisclosure agreements are common in many employment contracts; new employees agree not to use or disclose the firm's intellectual property. Some companies, such as Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, take nondisclosure agreements a step further, requiring all visitors to their headquarters to sign an NDA.

According to a news article, NDAs might soon undergo legal or legislative changes. Legislation was recently introduced in New York that would void all employment contracts with provisions requiring silence about discrimination or harassment. 

You can discuss the needs and goals of your situation with a Houston employment law attorney experienced in litigation involving employment contracts, severance agreements, noncompete agreements and more.

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