Bustos-Backed Bill to Combat Sexual Harassment Passes Senate

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A bipartisan legislation backed by Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) to combat sexual harassment recently passed the U.S. Senate. The Speak Out Act would void predispute nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) in instances of sexual assault and harassment. 

“After facing sexual assault or harassment, no American should find that they unknowingly signed their rights away,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “Last week, I was proud to see the Senate pass legislation to void nondisclosure agreements and allow survivors to speak out. I look forward to passing this bipartisan bill in the House and seeing it signed into law by President Biden. With this bill and my recently-signed law to end forced arbitration for victims of sexual assault and harassment, survivors in America are gaining their rights back.” 

Current federal law, and most state laws, allow NDAs to force employees and consumers to sign away their rights to come forward about a future allegation of sexual harassment or assault before the abuse even occurs. This results in silencing survivors and shielding abusers, perpetuating illegal conduct.

The Speak Out Act would:

  • Prohibit the use of predispute NDAs between employers and current, former and prospective employees, as well as independent contractors;
  • Prohibit the use of predispute NDAs between providers of goods and services and consumers, and;
  • Invalidate existing predispute NDAs in cases that have not yet been filed.

The Senate voted to pass the Speak Out Act unanimously on September 29, 2022. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 5, 2022

Heather K. Sager – (202) 594-6927

Philip Shelly – (202) 365-4255

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