On 13 November 2018, the Women and Equalities Committee launched an inquiry into non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in harassment and discrimination cases. The launch follows the committee’s recent inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace which made recommendations to the government to address the unethical use of NDAs (see Legal update, Women and Equalities Committee report on Sexual harassment in the workplace). The new inquiry will have a wider remit, focusing on the use of NDAs in circumstances where any form of harassment or discrimination has been alleged. The scope will cover, for example, pregnancy discrimination and racist treatment.
The committee is seeking written submissions on whether there are certain types of harassment or discrimination for which NDAs are more likely to be used, whether the use of NDAs should be banned or restricted in these cases and what safeguards may be necessary to prevent their unethical use. Respondents are also asked to consider questions about the role of internal grievance procedures, fairness and transparency obligations on employers and the role of boards and directors.