Government consultation regarding non-disclosure agreements

The government has started consultation to seek views on new measures to prevent the misuse of non-disclosure agreements in situations of workplace harassment or discrimination.

Confidentiality clauses serve a useful purpose in the employment context. They can be used to protect trade secrets and as part of settlement agreements to allow both sides of an employment dispute to move on with a clean break.

The government is now consulting on the following:

Legislating to ban confidentiality clauses which would prevent a victim from reporting potential criminal acts to the police
Ensuring that confidentiality clauses in employment contracts are included in the written statement of particulars of employment issued at the start of the employment relationship rather than provided during the employment as a means of “gagging”
Requiring that all confidentiality clauses highlight the disclosures which confidentiality clauses do not prohibit in order that it is clear to the employee at the time of signing.

The consultation continues and the Government will announce any proposals for change in due course.

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