New public guidance for non-disclosure agreements

A new public legal education initiative to help the public understand their rights when faced with non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) was launched today by the Law Society of England and Wales.

A new set of guidance will be made available directly to the public and disseminated through partner organisations and law firms.

This follows concerns of the Women and Equalities Committee that victims of potentially unlawful discrimination and harassment may be reluctant to report their experiences.

“The legal profession has a responsibility to educate the public on complex and sometimes controversial aspects of the law,” said I. Stephanie Boyce, deputy vice president of the Law Society of England and Wales.

“There are many legitimate reasons why employers and workers may want to enter into confidentiality agreements. They allow parties to resolve a dispute confidentially without going to a tribunal or court.

“However the emergence of high-profile cases, often involving sexual harassment claims, has led to legitimate fears of misuse. There is a disparity of power between employers and employees that can be abused.

“Unfortunately this has led to myriad of misconceptions.

“For example, a confidentiality clause cannot stop you from reporting a crime to the police. Nor can it be used to prevent whistleblowing in the public interest.

“This initiative seeks to equip members of the public with the awareness, knowledge and confidence to make an informed choice when the time comes.”

Notes to editors

See our Non-disclosure agreements: what you need to know as a worker page.

See the Women and Equalities Select Committee report on NDAs: ‘The use of non-disclosure agreements in discrimination cases’.

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Liam McCafferty | | (0)208 0494028

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