Sexual Harassment Settlements in New York and Privacy

Will Settlement of My Sexual Harassment Law Claim in New York Be A Secret?

The answer is it can be, but only if you want it to be. 

It is very common for employers to want the resolution of a sexual harassment law issue in New York to be kept confidential through a provision in a settlement document called a “non-disclosure agreement,” often abbreviated to “NDA.”  Employers especially like NDAs because it is a way for them to make sure that other employees and the general public are unaware that a sexual harassment claim was made by an employee.  One problem with this type of secrecy is that if the employer chooses to, it can protect a misbehaving boss or supervisor it deems valuable to the employer many times and render another employee a new potential victim.  The 2018 amendments to sexual harassment law in New York added this protection for employees and prohibited the inclusion of an NDA in the sexual harassment context if the employee did not want and agree to it.

What do the 2019 Changes to the Law Do?

The 2019 amendments expand the limitations on an NDA to a wider scope of protected categories, including those alleging harassment based on age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity (to name a few).  This means that any employee who enters into a settlement agreement with an employer based on defined unlawful discrimination can choose whether they want to keep the settlement confidential or not. 

Are There Circumstances in Which it may Benefit Me to Keep a Settlement of a Harassment Law Claim in New York Confidential?

Yes, there are such situations.  An employee may prefer to put the incident behind and move on or there may be other personal reasons to prefer to keep the settlement confidential.  If you would like to discuss your situation with us, please feel free to call or email us at any time. You will be on the phone with an attorney within 24 hours.