The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill that would ban making nondisclosure agreements a term of employment in situations of sexual harassment.
It’s a bill that is getting support from the business community.
“We’re exceptionally happy the legislature has decided to take on this issue,” said John Hayes, incoming chairman of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. “This one shouldn’t even take any thought. Sexual harassment shouldn’t be tolerated, condoned or hidden in any way. It’s not right.”
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Kate Klunk (R-Hanover) who said the bill, which now heads to the Senate, received strong bi-partisan support.
She explained that the bill bars an employer from forcing an employee or prospective employee to sign a non-disclosure agreement about a sexual harassment case as a condition of employment.
“We need to create a work environment that doesn’t sweep these things under the rug,” Klunk said. “This empowers the employees.”
Klunk noted that the bill is not an all-out ban on non-disclosure agreements in such situations. An agreement can be signed if both parties want one.
“I spoke with victims groups and the victims often don’t want public disclosure,” she said. The bill would allow for those situations.