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Speak Out Act Set to Invalidate Nondisclosure Clauses in Employment Contracts

A new law, known as the Speak Out Act, will make it illegal for employers to put nondisclosure clauses or non-disparagement clauses in employment contracts. This will make it far harder for employers to silence employees who try to blow the whistle on labor or employment law violations. It will also limit the ability of employers to silence employees who are the victims of discrimination or harassment on the job.


What is the Speak Out Act?

The Speak Out Act is a law recently signed into law that, once it comes into effect, will make it illegal for employers to put nondisclosure agreements or non-disparagement agreements into employment contracts. These sorts of agreements are often used to silence employees who complain about working conditions, safety issues, or discrimination on the job, using the threat of firing or legal action to keep them quiet. By preventing employers from putting these sorts of clauses in employment contracts, the law hopes to limit this practice.

What Are Non-Disclosure Agreements?

Nondisclosure agreements are a type of contract that prevents employees from revealing information that is considered confidential or sensitive that they learn as a result of their work. They are meant to prevent employees from discussing trade secrets or confidential client information, but employers also use them to silence employee criticism about labor and employment law violations. In a similar vein, nondisparagement clauses are meant to prevent employees from saying bad things about the company, which may include these sorts of illegal conduct.

Why Was This Law Passed?

The Speak Out Act was passed because an increasingly large number of employers have forced employees to sign nondisclosure agreements and non-disparagement agreements as part of the terms of their employment. When employees subsequently complain about poor working conditions, discrimination, harassment, safety violations, or other issues, employers will use these agreements to threaten an employee into silence. The law is meant to curtail this practice, limiting employers’ ability to silence employees who report illegal or unethical conduct.

How Might This Affect You?

If you are an employee, the Speak Out Act can help to protect you from efforts by your employer to prevent you from exercising your legal rights. When you or your coworkers are the victims of labor or employment law violations, you have a right to seek a legal remedy for the harm you have suffered. That is why, if you have been the victim of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, or have dealt with unsafe working conditions, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling employment law issues.

Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 41 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available in hardback, and contains valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To purchase the book, feel free to contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or visit the website at To inquire about a legal matter, please feel free to contact attorney Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or

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