Workers in California can no longer be silenced as a result of the victory of tech activists

Significantly, the governor of California signed legislation prohibiting employers from discouraging their employees from reporting harassment and discrimination.

Nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), which were intended to protect trade secrets but instead created a culture of silence around misconduct, were opposed for years before the new law was passed by many in the technology industry.

NDAs are frequently used to conceal instances of harassment and discrimination, requiring employees to remain silent in order to avoid disciplinary action and financial penalties for their employers and coworkers. After the #MeToo movement erupted, Harvey Weinstein used these contracts to keep his accusers quiet.

“This act is a huge step in the right direction for eliminating cultures of secrecy around misogyny and racism in the workplace,” says UC Hastings law professor Veena Dubal, who is also an advocate for California’s tech industry.

Ifeoma Ozoma, a former policy manager at Pinterest who went public with allegations of discrimination at the company in 2020, breaking her own non-disclosure agreement in the process, co-sponsored the Silenced No More Act. Pinterest did not do enough to keep them safe from harassment both on and off the platform.

According to Ozoma, a new chapter in her life began when she spoke out about the discrimination she faced at Pinterest and worked on legislation. The best way to turn suffering into progress is to break the silence that affects tens of millions of people.

Senator Connie Leyva (D-CA) introduced legislation to strengthen protections against secret workplace settlements

Employer-employee confidentiality agreements will be rendered null and void if this legislation is passed.

Employers who attempt to silence employees due to harassment or discrimination, according to Leyva, are unacceptable.

Despite the fact that the legislation was championed and supported by tech workers, it will have ramifications throughout the state’s economy, including the state’s larger corporations with California headquarters.

An earlier law enacted in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement made it illegal for employers to use confidentiality agreements to resolve sexual harassment cases. The Act also prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, as well as physical or mental disability.

Employees, according to Leyva, should be able to speak openly about workplace harassment and discrimination in order to hold perpetrators accountable and prevent further abuses.

When it came to the new bill, Pinterest stated that it would follow the rules whether it passed or not in April. Initially, only a few high-tech firms supported the legislation.

According to CEO Ben Silbermann, employees must feel supported and empowered to express their concerns about their workplace.


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