Government Consults on Tighter Rules for NDAs

<p>Confidentiality clauses have a right and proper place in the employment context. They can be used primarily in two ways &ndash; either as part of an employment contract, where there is a need to protect business secrets for example, or as part of a settlement agreement, in order to allow both sides in an employment dispute to move on with a clean break. However, they can be open to abuse, as recent newspaper reports have revealed.</p>

<p>In an attempt to crack down on the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and confidentiality clauses by employers to cover up incidents of sexual and racial harassment in the workplace, the Government <a href=”https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/783011/confidentiality-clauses-consultation.pdf” target=”_blank”>has issued a consultation document on ways to tighten up the rules</a> that apply to them.</p>

<p>In addition to the existing legal limitations that apply to confidentiality clauses, the proposals seek views on further limitations and how best to enforce them. These include:</p>

<ul>
<li>Legislating that workplace confidentiality agreements cannot be used to prevent workers reporting harassment or discrimination to the police or prevent disclosure in any criminal proceedings;</li>
<li>Requiring that a clear, written description of a person's rights are made available before they sign a confidentiality clause in an employment contract or a settlement agreement, so that they fully understand their rights; and</li>
<li>Extending the law to ensure workers agreeing to confidentiality agreements receive independent legal advice making clear their nature and what the limitations are.</li>
</ul>

<p>The consultation closes on 29 April 2019.</p>