In high-level cases, including the Harvey Weinstein scandal and Philip Green`s fight with the Telegraph, the clauses have been used to prevent victims of harassment and assault. A report by the Committee on Women and Equal Rights, published on 11 June 2019, expressed concern that many companies would avoid investigating wrongdoing by “hiding” incidents involving confidentiality agreements. Indeed, even in cases of abuse, there are situations where confidentiality clauses are entirely appropriate and, in some cases, in the interests of the complainant and the employer. As a professional organization, one of our priorities is to ensure that our members are aware of existing legal and regulatory obligations in the development of NOA agreements. Staff should ensure that they receive independent legal advice before signing an agreement containing a confidentiality clause and that they are aware of the impact of the agreement on their disclosure rights. An NDA cannot prevent an employee from disclosing information if it is in the public interest. For example, a clause in a confidentiality agreement cannot be allowed to prevent a staff member from reporting to a judicial authority the concealment of financial dysfunctions. From an ethical point of view, such clauses should not exist within the NDA, but the company should adopt a whistleblowing policy that encourages disclosure of corporate misconduct. On March 4, 2019, Economy Minister Kelly Tolhurst announced new legislative proposals on confidentiality agreements that dealt with some, but not all, of these proposals.
The proposals contain: – legislation that specifies that confidentiality agreements cannot prevent a person from reporting an offence to the police or providing information for explanation in the context of criminal proceedings. However, if you are an employee who signs an NOA with your employer, you can answer the charge under the Whistleblower Act, if it is a “protected disclosure,” even after a confidentiality agreement has been signed. The categories of protected disclosure are: the commission of an offence; violation of a legal obligation; miscarriage of justice; Health and safety risks Damage to the environment or concealment of one of the aforementioned faults.