New Laws for 2019 – Sexual Harassment and Confidentiality – Settlements and Non-Disclosure Agreements

Another law signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018 was SB 820.

The prior law

Prior to the passage of this law, settlement agreements could not have a provision that prevented disclosing factual information, related to a civil action that creates a cause of action – for specific listed sexual offenses. The prior law also prevented courts from entering a court order, in any of those related civil cases, that restricted disclosure of the factual information. Any settlement agreement provision that prevented the disclosure of the factual information (as it relates to the civil case) is considered void if the agreement was entered into on after the beginning of 2017 – January 1, 2017.

The new bill extends the current prohibitions. It prohibits settlement agreement provisions that forbid disclosing factual information for claims involving:

  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual harassment
  • Harassment or discrimination based on sex

The prohibition applies – if there was a civil or administrative complaint filed. In cases where there was just correspondence or a demand letter, the prohibition would likely not apply.

Any such settlement agreement provisions that prohibit the factual disclosure, where the agreement was entered into on January 1, 2019, or later – would be considered void and against public policy.

The bill authorizes a court to review the pleadings and other court papers to determine the factual foundation.

The bill does have an exception for employers who are not public officials or not a governmental agency. The exception does OK a provision to shield the claimant’s identity or any facts that could to the discovery of his/her identity such as an address. The shield applies if the exception is made part of the agreement

The law applies to the facts surrounding the harassment, assault, or discrimination. The agreement could still authorize that the amount of the settlement is kept private.

Understand your rights if you are sexually harassed, assaulted, abused, or discriminated against due to your gender or sexual preference

Our California lawyers file federal and civil complaints against employers who fail to comply with the laws and government regulations that govern the treatment of workers. This includes a full range of sexual offenses. To understand your rights, please call, the law offices of Stephen Danz & Associates. We have offices throughout California. You can reach us by calling (877)789-9707 to schedule an appointment. Se Habla Espanol.