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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington Bill Would Ban Non-Disclosure Of Sexual Harassment, Assault

Washington Legislature
A bill introduced by Washington Sen. Karen Keiser would place limits on non-disclosure agreements.

Washington state Sen. Karen Keiser said she wants to encourage disclosure of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. To that end, the Democrat introduced legislation on December 4 that would place limits on non-disclosure agreements.

Specifically her proposal would make it illegal for employers to restrict what a victim of workplace sexual misconduct can say publicly.

“It is basically taking the very ubiquitous and commonplace nondisclosure agreement now and carving a waiver out for the reporting of sexual harassment or sexual assault incidents,” Keiser said.

Keiser’s bill would also prohibit employers from firing or otherwise retaliating against an employee who speaks out about these issues.

Non-disclosure agreements are often a condition of employment. Usually they’re aimed at protecting trade secrets and other proprietary information. But they can also include blanket provisions that prevent employees from saying anything that could hurt the company brand or stock price.