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Firms face ban on use of gagging clauses to silence whistleblowers

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theguardian.com
http://www.theguardian.com/



Firms face ban on use of gagging clauses to silence whistleblowers
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/04/firms-face-ban-on-use-of-gagging-clauses-to-silence-whistleblowers


'The government has announced proposals to prevent employers from using gagging clauses to stop people reporting criminal behaviour, harassment or discrimination to police.

Ministers have decided to act following high-profile cases including that of Sir Philip Green, the chair of Arcadia Group, who is alleged to have used non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to prevent several former employees from speaking out about alleged experiences of bullying and sexual assault. Many organisations use NDAs to protect confidential commercial information. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said there was growing evidence of the unethical use of NDAs by a small minority of employers to intimidate whistleblowers and conceal harassment and discrimination, including sexual assault, physical threats and racism.

The business minister Kelly Tolhurst said: “What is completely unacceptable is the misuse of these agreements to silence victims, and there is increasing evidence that this is becoming more widespread. Our new proposals will help to tackle this problem by making it clear in law that victims cannot be prevented from speaking to the police or reporting a crime and clarifying their rights.”

There will be clarification in law that NDAs cannot be used to prevent workers from whistleblowing or to stop them discussing an issue with police, a doctor or therapist. Workers who are asked to sign must also have independent advice.'



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