Protect to act as advice centre for whistleblowers

New guidance by the Law Society on Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) has recommended Protect as an advice centre for whistleblowers.

NDAs, sometimes called a confidentiality or gagging clause, allows the employer and worker to resolve a dispute confidentially without going to a tribunal or court.  An individual may also be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement before starting a project, to stop business secrets and sensitive information from becoming public.

NDAs have hit the headlines in recent months over the Harvey Weinstein and Philip Green scandals and allegations of covering up bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination.

The Law Society guidance, ‘NDAs and confidentiality agreements – what you need to know as a worker’ makes clear an NDA cannot be used to stop whistleblowing in the public interest.

Protect chief executive, Francesca West said: “The advice we provide to nearly 3,000 individuals each year is unique as it is legally privileged and is focussed on supporting the individual to speak up and stop harm.”

Protect have spoken out against the improper use of NDAs, and was invited to give evidence to both the Women & Equalities Select Committee and the Government’s consultation on NDAs where it called for plainer English surrounding NDAs, a stronger regulatory framework to tackle toxic workplace cultures and a requirement for lawyers to explain the limits of NDAs on future disclosures.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Whistleblowing invites care home staff to share their experience and thoughts about the use of Non Disclosure Agreements in whistleblowing cases ahead of a January report.

In July, the government announced it would open a consultation into proposed legislation.

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