Clarity’s Executive Director, Nathan Luker, spoke with BOSS Magazine’s editor on the complexities of NDAs and their role in proceedings.
…All too often, experts say generally, in cases of sexual harassment, NDAs – which prohibits someone from sharing information deemed confidential in exchange for a payment – protect the perpetrator and silence the victim.
“This is a governance issue that should be occupying the minds of every corporate board and management committee,” says David Atkin, outgoing CEO of Cbus, a superannuation fund and one of Australia’s biggest investors.
Martin Parkinson, chancellor of Macquarie University and former secretary to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick and Chief Executive Women president Sue M. are among those who argue that, in principle, such agreements should be used only when requested by a victim of sexual harassment and should not be required as part of a settlement with the company.
After issuing a 930-page report on sexual harassment in the workplace in early March, the Australian Human Rights Commission is due to issue guidelines that identify best practice principles for the use of NDAs. But the commission is still waiting on the federal government to review its formal response. It is consulting employment, legal and regulatory experts, unions, and government and non-government policy experts before forming the guidelines. The consultation process is expected to last until September. Rather than wait for formal guidelines to be published, boards are being urged to review their policies.
Nathan Luker, CEO of Your Call Whistleblowing Solutions, which operates external whistleblowing hotlines, argues there is a role for NDAs but says companies need to better support victims during the negotiation process.
Published on 21 August 2020 in BOSS Magazine, Australian Financial Review