WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House passed the Speak Out Act, legislation championed by Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04), Rep. Lois Frankel (FL-21), Rep. Ken Buck (CO-02), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), House Judiciary Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline (RI-01), Vice Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA-09), and Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-07). This bipartisan legislation makes predispute nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) null and void in instances in which sexual harassment or sexual assault has been alleged in violation of Federal, State, or Tribal law.
“We need to ensure every American has a safe and respectful workplace where they can thrive,” said Rep. Owens. “The Speak Out Act empowers survivors to tell their stories without the threat of nondisclosure agreements that silence victims, empower predators, and shield harassment and misconduct. I am thankful to my colleagues in Congress for their support in sending this important bill to President Biden’s desk.”
Current federal law allows the use of predispute NDAs that force employees and consumers to unknowingly sign away their rights to come forward about an allegation of sexual harassment or assault. This practice silences survivors and perpetuates illegal conduct and abuse. The new law does not prohibit the use of voluntary NDAs in settlements.
The Speak Out Act would:
- Prohibit the use of predispute NDAs between employers and current, former, and prospective employees, as well as independent contractors
- Prohibit the use of predispute NDAs between providers of goods and services and consumers
- Invalidate existing predispute NDAs in cases that have not yet been filed