When Governor Murphy signed Bill S121, the main purpose was to modify settlement agreements and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that were part of employment contracts. It bans them from concealing the details of sexual harassment and discrimination claims, along with incidences of retaliation against employees for making them. The bill was signed on March 19, about 10 months after it passed in the Senate.
These agreements have been used to prevent accusers from making public their harasser’s names and settlement amounts.
Looking More Closely at S121
Now that the Bill has been signed, members of the legal community are attempting to interpret its finer points. For example, it does not prohibit anybody from purchasing exclusive rights to the victim’s story; even the accused employer may do so. Also, employees have choices for keeping things quiet or going public; an NDA would be unenforceable if the claim had enough information to make the company “reasonably identifiable.” Companies may still be able to retain confidentiality when it comes to protecting their proprietary business information, however.
The bill also bans substantive or procedural right or remedy waivers that relate to these claims, deeming them unenforceable and against public policy. All of these details may be creating a gray area when it comes to employment-related claims and arbitration agreement enforceability. These are not specifically banned, but some feel there may be conflicts with the Federal Arbitration Act.
More Employee Protections
Bill S121 also stipulates that plaintiffs will be compensated for attorneys’ fees and other costs should the employer try to administer a provision that is deemed against public policy. This also applies to the waiver described above and non-disclosure provisions. Employees are shielded from retaliation, including situations where they do not wish to sign the agreements.
South Jersey Employment Lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC Provide Trusted Legal Guidance for Employment Law Cases
Frequently changing employment laws can be confusing, and we are here to help. Contact a knowledgeable South Jersey employment lawyer at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC for a free consultation today. Call 856-235-7075 or complete an online contact form. Our offices are in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City, New Jersey, and we help clients in Cherry Hill, Burlington County, Camden County, and South Jersey.