Pennsylvania Senator Judy Schwank led a group of Democratic Senators in introducing a bill that would ban the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in allegations of sexual misconduct. Schwank believes NDAs put more power in the hands of the perpetrators and not the victims of sexual harassment and abuse. Her proposed legislation, Senate Bill 999, aims to shift power to victims to speak out about any misconduct they’re facing.
“The secrecy [perpetrators] are given allows their misconduct to grow and spread to harm others... The law should not be an escape hatch from civil and criminal liability,” Schwank said. Schwank also stated the legislation will prohibit any contracts, settlements, or any other barriers from disallowing disclosure of a perpetrator’s identity.
NDAs in recent high-profile cases like that of Harvey Weinstein have caused controversy and brought this bill to the forefront of discussion. Schwank and her fellow Democratic state lawmakers believe the bill will empower victims report abuse, especially in the case of workplace harassment and misconduct, without fear of legal ramifications.