NBCUniversal released a statement on Friday Oct. 25 that the network will be releasing former employees who experienced sexual harassment and misconduct from nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), and individuals are now free to come forward and share their stories.
NBCUniversal deciding to release former employees from NDAs and confidentiality agreements is a vital step for large companies and corporations. Providing a way for individuals to come forward enables people to feel free and safe to discuss sexual harassment, explotation, or other wrongdoings within the workplace.
“Any former NBC News employee who believes that they cannot disclose their experience with sexual harassment as a result of a confidentiality or non-disparagement provision in their separation agreement should contact NBCUniversal and we will release them from that perceived obligation,” the NBCUniversal statement reported.
Other companies should follow the actions of NBCUniversal as this is an important step in encouraging those who are frightened to reveal a sexual harassment case due to the reprecussions and consequences they may face from their job. Although companies may deny that NDAs and confidentiality agreements are used to silence and hide sexual assault cases, they appear to be frequently used for this point. Companies typically include NDAs and confidentiality agreements in order to keep quiet the “damages a company or individual could face if its secrets were to get out and the unfair advantage its competitors could obtain due to disclosure of sensitive information,” Rutgers University Journal of Law stated.
Rachel Maddow, MSNBC nightly host, first announced the statement prior to interviewing Ronan Farrow, a journalist that investigated the sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein and compiled the reports into a book, “Catch and Kill.”
In Farrow’s book he discusses the sexual assault allegations against Matt Laurer and the coverups that consistenly occured at NBC where women were paid off for secrecy. The book states that NBC had reached nondisclosure agreements with at least several women who alleged sexual misconduct, harassment, discimination, and had filed complaints against the co-host of “Today,” Matt Laurer. However, NBC denies that the agreements were intended to silence individuals about sexual assault or other issues, but were typical protocol of severance agreements for departing employees.
Companies are prioritizing their own interests and self image in order to succeed. While pursuing success as a company, corporations lose sight of the people who work diligently for the company to bring them success. Companies should support their employees and highlight and resolve issues within their workforce in order to grow, prosper, and set an example for other corporations.
Other companies should also commit to this change and release former workers from NDAs and other confidentiality agreements. This action would suport victims of sexual assault, harrassment, and other violations and demonstrate that it is okay to talk about what happenned in order to take the proper steps to bring consequences to the assaultant.