February 5, 2020

Committee passes bill to eliminate NDAs for sexual harassment settlements

A bill to protect victims of sexual harassment in the workplace passed easily with a 5-0 vote in the House Labor, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee Tuesday.

HB 21, sponsored by Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil, D-Albuquerque, seeks to protect victims of sexual harassment in the workplace by allowing the victim to decide if she or he wants a nondisclosure agreement when the employee and employer settle.

Hochman-Vigil said the bill had been amended to reflect that the bill would only apply to private employers because a different bill applies to public employers.

There was no opposition to the bill. Expert witness Erika Anderson, an Albuquerque-based attorney, said most sexual harassment cases settle and that often the victim feels forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

But doing so allows perpetrators of sexual harassment to go undetected, say advocates of the bill.

The bill next heads to the House Judiciary Committee.