Whatever you think about wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange’s recent arrest, the issue of blowing the whistle is firmly in the headlines. For over a year the media spotlight has focussed on employees speaking out about misconduct at work, from hostesses serving at a charity dinner through to the corridors of Westminster. But, although much of the context for that has been sexual harassment and the #metoo movement, it is, of course, equally important that employers respond appropriately to concerns raised about all serious issues.
At the same time, concerns are being voiced in every sector about non-disclosure agreements (aka “gagging clauses” or NDAs) being used to cover up wrongdoing, particularly in settlement agreements with employees, with calls for them to be banned. Currently, unions are alleging that bullied staff in schools are being required to sign settlement agreements with NDAs and universities are accused of gagging staff who have been victims of discrimination and sexual assault. In response to the concerns the Government has been investigating and consulting on the use of these clauses and, most recently, again wants to move to ban them in the NHS.
Join our training sessions in May and June to look at the practical steps employers can take to support a culture in which employees feel safe to voice concerns; review ‘myth-busting’ of current criticisms of NDAs; and cover the proposals for reform to ensure that your use of confidentiality clauses is ethical, compliant and enforceable.