If California approves the proposed Silenced No More law, employees who report workplace racial discrimination would not be subject to the terms of nondisclosure agreements. Often, companies use these contracts to attempt to prevent workers from speaking out against harassment, according to sponsor Senator Connie Leyva.
Review the terms of Silenced No More (Senate Bill 331) and its strengthened whistleblowing protections for employees.
The history of Silenced No More
The legislation stems from the case of former Pinterest employees Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, who alleged the social media company discriminated against employees based on sex and race. While California law protects employees who speak out against sexual harassment, it does not cover racial discrimination. Large tech companies such as Facebook and Google famously require extensive NDAs, and their many California-based workers currently risk retaliation for revealing discrimination. Senator Leyva previously sponsored the STAND (Stand Together Against Non-Disclosures) Act which bars employers from requiring NDAs in circumstances involving sex discrimination, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Terms of the bill
If Governor Gavin Newsom decides to sign the bill, employees who face racial and other forms of discrimination will have the same retaliation protection the state applies to sexual discrimination and harassment victims. Proponents of the law believe it adds a layer of protection that will hopefully encourage workers who have signed an NDA to come forward about discrimination and harassment.
Individuals who face discrimination or harassment at work can file a report with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.