We are over the ruddy moon to announce that the Legal Services Board has done a call for evidence on the misuse of NDA’s. As we all know, there’s a helluva lot of misuse going on, but because these are gagging clauses, it’s really difficult to talk about it.
The Legal Services Board (LSB) is the oversight regulator for legal services in England and Wales. They are independent of both government and the legal profession but enormously influential so we want to be sure they get as many responses from all of us as possible so we can maximise this opportunity.
If you have signed an NDA after experiencing pregnancy or maternity discrimination or some form of harassment then please consider responding to this inquiry. All you need to do is email [email protected]. and here are some question prompts you may like to use when compiling your response:
1. What was the context in which the NDA was signed
2. What were the factors that influenced your decision to sign an NDA
3. Did you have access to legal advice or other support
4. Did signing an NDA have any impact on you (e.g., wellbeing, health, future opportunities)
5. At what point was a legal advisor made available to you (if at all)
6. What was your experience of working with a legal advisor?
- the extent to which you felt well informed, supported and that your interests were being protected during the process. For example, were the terms and effect of the NDA fully explained?
- the justification provided for keeping the information that was subject to the NDA confidential
- whether you experienced any behaviours or conduct by legal professionals (either acting on an individual’s behalf or an opponent’s behalf) that were considered to be unethical or fall short of their professional obligations. If so, please provide an explanation.
7. Did you access any guidance online about the use of NDA’s? If so, how useful was it? For example did the guidance:
- provide clarity on when NDAs should not be used, the rationale behind this (e.g. where use is unlawful, a breach of code of conduct or unethical) and the consequences for legal professionals or employers of doing so
- sufficiently explain what individuals who are asked to sign NDAs should do and where to go for support
8. Have you ever reported the use of NDAs to a regulatory body? If so, what was your experience of doing this?
What will happen to my information? For a full explanation please see P14 here. The LSB promise to handle your information with the utmost care – please make it clear which sections of your submission are confidential. Please also let the LSB know that Pregnant Then Screwed encouraged you to submit your response.
Why should I bother?
We get it, writing out what happened to you feels really triggering and it takes time to do – but if we want to change the way the law works so that NDAs cannot be misused by employers to gag women from speaking publicly about their experiences then we need to get the LSB on board, and the way we do that is through inquiries like these. This could be the step that changes everything so that in the future women don’t get bullied, harassed and discriminated against only to have a non-disclosure agreement slapped on their lips. We wouldn’t ask you to do this if we didn’t think it could make a difference.
To read the full call for evidence click here