If she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of trends in the level of use of non-disclosure agreements by businesses in cases relating to sexual assault, harassment and misconduct.
Non-disclosure agreements can be used legitimately by employers—for example, to protect commercially sensitive information. The Government understand concerns about the use of NDAs to silence victims of sexual misconduct. We have legislated to prevent higher education providers using NDAs in cases of sexual abuse, harassment or misconduct and other forms of bullying or harassment.
Imagine, Mr Speaker, that you are a victim of bullying, misconduct or sexual harassment at work, and your employer pushes you to sign a gagging clause preventing you from publicly disclosing what happened to you; this sits over you in perpetuity, reminding you of the trauma you experienced. The campaign group Can’t Buy My Silence will soon be launching a business pledge to commit to ending this practice in businesses for good. Will the Secretary of State consider meeting me to discuss this forthcoming pledge, and does she back a ban on the use of NDAs in these specific cases?
I am aware that the hon. Member had a private Member’s Bill on this very issue. The Government are supportive of preventing harassment in the workplace, and we supported the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill. We believe that NDAs have a place, but she has raised specific circumstances where they are inappropriate, so I am happy to discuss with her what we can do to stop this problem from continuing.