Problems With Non-Disclosure Agreements

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The Me Too & Black Lives Matters movements surfaced the widespread nature of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. It also shined a spotlight on the negative impact of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) on the perpetuation of harmful practices. NDAs have been routinely included in separation agreements and in employment contracts and they limit the ability of current and former employees to say anything negative about a company, with few if any exceptions.

Take a look at these two case examples and then read through the articles listed below and tell us what you see as the ethical dilemma with NDAs and what you would propose instead, as a HR professional.


Example 1: Allegations of Racial Discrimination at Essence

Robertson, K. (2020). Essence Names Interim Chief After Claim of ‘Abusive Work Culture’. The New York Times. Retrieved from:

Example 2: Sexual Harassment & Assault at the Weinstein Companies

Melendez, P. & Cartwright, L. (2020). Weinstein Victims Get $19M Payout, Are Released From NDAs. The Daily Beast. Retrieved from:


Prasad, V. (2018). If Anyone Is Listening, #MeToo: Breaking the Culture of Silence Around Sexual Abuse Through Regulating Non-Disclosure Agreements and Secret Settlements. 59B.C.L. Rev.2507. Retrieved from:

Spiggle, T. (2017). Harvey Weinstein Used NDAs to Keep His Victims Silent. Here’s How Those Work. LinkedIn. Retrieved from:

Tippett, E. (2018). The Legal Implications of the MeToo Movement. Minnesota Law Review. 57. Retrieved from: