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Secret harassment settlements banned under California bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown

CA passes bill banning secret harassment settlements

State Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, discusses bill she authored to provide relief for sexual harassment victims. Senate Bill 820 now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for final approval.
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State Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, discusses bill she authored to provide relief for sexual harassment victims. Senate Bill 820 now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for final approval.

The California Legislature on Friday sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill prohibiting secret settlements and non-disclosure agreements in sexual harassment cases.

While it won’t bar people from entering into settlement agreements, it would prohibit a key provision within the settlement often used to silence victims. Though the victim may choose to keep his or her name private, the perpetrator’s name cannot be confidential under the bill. State Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, authored Senate Bill 820 in response to the #MeToo movement and growing demand for greater workplace protections.

If Brown signs the bill, it would allow victims to speak out and provide relevant information when filing harassment claims. It would also prevent courts from entering orders that restrict disclosure of factual information in harassment cases.

“Secret settlements, now we know, have contributed to sexual harassment in the workplace, sexual assault in the workplace because the perpetrator is allowed to conduct this business and then hide under a veil of secrecy,” Leyva said.

Jane Fonda participates in a panel discussion in Sacramento about the #MeToo movement and TimesUp on August 7, 2018.

Sen. Holly Mitchell and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman explain why the new sexual harassment policy they’ve developed is a big change for the Legislature.

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