New law nixes secret settlements about sexual harassment

In reaction to the #MeToo movement, the legislature has banned settlement agreements that require an individual to suppress facts about sexual assault, harassment or discrimination with SB 820 by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino).

Under the new law, employers who settle cases will not be able to demand confidentiality from an employee. However, as a protection for an individual who wishes to remain anonymous, a claimant can require confidentiality. However, at CNPA’s urging, this subdivision does not apply if a government agency or public official is a party to the settlement agreement. This language protects the longstanding principle that prevents government entities from entering into secret settlements.

The measure is effective Jan. 1, 2019, and is only applicable to settlement agreements entered into after that date.