How does the “Silenced No More Act” impact Washington State Employers?
The “Silenced No More Act,” which went into effect in June of 2022, has significant implications on what you, as an employer, can legally include in agreements with employees. Failure to comply can be very costly.
Basically, this new law limits the scope of non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses that may be included in agreements between employers and their employees. As outlined in RCW 49.44.21, you can no longer include provisions that would prevent your employees from discussing or disclosing conduct that they “reasonably believed” to involve discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour violations, or sexual assault.
This law also applies retroactively to agreements made before June 9, 2022. All employer-employee agreements, including those with current, former, and potential employees or independent contractors, fall under its purview. Penalties for violating this statute are severe—including minimum damages of $10,000 and attorney’s fees and costs.
Due to the various complexities and harsh penalties of the “Silenced No More Act,” employers should seek legal guidance when drafting employee agreements.
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