Lori A. Medley, Senior Counsel, in the Litigation & Business Disputes Practice, in the firm’s New York office, authored an article in the NW Sidebar, titled “What You Need to Know About Washington’s Silenced No More Act.”
Following is an excerpt:
On March 24, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law the Silenced No More Act, greatly restricting the scope of nondisclosure and nondisparagement provisions that employers may enter into with employees who either work or reside in Washington state. Effective June 9, the new law prohibits employers from requiring or requesting that an employment agreement contain a provision:
However, employers will still be able to enter into agreements that (1) prohibit the disclosure of the amount paid in a settlement agreement; and (2) protect “trade secrets, proprietary information, or confidential information that does not involve illegal acts.” An employer that violates the law can be found liable in a civil action for “actual damages or statutory damages of $10,000, whichever is more, as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.”
Once the law becomes effective, it will repeal and replace a 2018 Washington state law that prohibits employers from using employment agreements to preemptively restrict workers from disclosing claims of workplace-related sexual assault and sexual harassment. However, the 2018 law still allows employers to negotiate enforceable confidentiality provisions as part of a settlement agreement involving an allegation of such claims. The new law builds upon the 2018 law by, among other things, expanding the definition of an “employee,” broadening the categories and types of agreements that are now subject to restrictions on nondisclosure and non-disparagement provisions, and providing for greater penalties for violations.
This post originally appeared on the Trade Secrets & Employee Mobility blog, "Washington State’s Silenced No More Act, Which Largely Prohibits Nondisclosure and Nondisparagement Provisions in Employment Agreements, to Go Into Effect June 9."