The Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) has already held an inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace. In its report, WEC called for the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in that context to be "cleaned up", for example by requiring agreements to be drafted in plain English to make their limits and effects clear, and to make it an offence to misuse NDAs. The government response to the report is awaited, although Theresa May has committed to ending the use of "unethical" agreements.
WEC has now announced an inquiry into the use of NDAs in other harassment or discrimination claims, including in relation to pregnancy and maternity discrimination. At the moment, WEC is seeking written evidence on issues such as:
- Whether there are particular types of claim where NDAs are more likely to be used;
- Whether the use of NDAs should be banned, or what safeguards are needed to prevent misuse;
- How employees can access high-quality and independent legal advice on NDAs, particularly where an employer is paying for the advice;
- What the role of boards and directors should be in relation to NDAs; and
- Whether employers should be obliged to disclose the numbers and types of NDAs they enter into.
The deadline for submitting written evidence is 28 November.