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Former Fox News Employees Request Release From Non-Disclosure Agreements

NDA6 Former Fox News Employees Request Release from NDAs

Six former Fox News employees, including former news anchor, Gretchen Carlson and former political consultant, Julie Roginsky, became the latest in a growing list of female employees who are demanding to be released from Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) they signed as part of their sexual harassment and discrimination settlements with Fox. The NDAs prohibit them from talking about the alleged unlawful conduct in any form. Both Carlson and Roginsky accused their former employer, Roger Ailes, former President and Chairman of Fox News, of sexual harassment and discrimination. According to court documents, Carlson alleged that Ailes "sabotaged her career because she refused his sexual advances." Roginsky alleged that she was denied a co-hosting job on a show after she refused to have a sexual relationship with Ailes.

NDAs have long been a way used by employers as a way to silence employees in sexual harassment or discrimination settlements. Both Carlson and Roginsky say they are tired of being silent and no longer wish to be a part of a system that fosters a culture of sweeping this type of conduct under the rug. They want to be free to tell their stories publicly to help other men and women in the same position. Their demands come after NBC News’s recent release of their former employees from NDAs, amid mounting criticism about how the network handled an employee’s report of sexual harassment and assault by former Today Show anchor, Matt Lauer, and reports about their efforts to kill their former reporter, Ronan Farrow’s story about Harvey Weinstein’ s sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry. It remains to be seen if Fox News will follow suit and release their employees from their NDAs. So far, the Network has had no comment on the issue.

While NDA’s have frequently been the escape route for companies looking to avoid public relations backlash for sexual harassment violations, their effectiveness is now under fire, particularly in New York. Effective October 11, 2019, New York State Law prohibits employers from including confidentiality requirements in settlement agreements for employment discrimination cases, unless the employee requests it. Additionally, all confidentiality agreements are required be written in plain English and, if applicable, the employee's primary language. This new law "expands protections against all forms of workplace discrimination to include domestic workers and all contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants and others providing services in the workplace."

If you would like to speak to someone about sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace or have questions about NDAs or the confidentiality of discrimination settlements, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. to schedule a consultation.

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