Pennsylvania Considers Banning Confidential Sexual Harassment Settlements

Pennsylvania State Judy Schwank (D-Berks) introduced a bill that would prohibit non-disclosure clauses on sexual harassment settlements. If her bill becomes law, settlements that restrict “the disclosure of the name of any person suspected of sexual misconduct,” would become illegal.

Her goal is to stop predators and those who protect them. Surely she is thinking of cases like Harvey Weinstein, where huge swaths of his company and the community knew he was a sexual predator and helped him cover up.

This sounds noble, but it would be a disaster for Pennsylvanians who are the victims of sexual harassment.

You may have thought it would be a disaster for the perpetrators, and it would be, but they aren’t exactly a group deserving of sympathy. Why would it be bad news for victims? Here are a few reasons.

To read the reasons, click here: Pennsylvania Considers Banning Confidential Sexual Harassment Settlements

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5 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Considers Banning Confidential Sexual Harassment Settlements

  1. This proposal assumes the accused are always guilty. Many settlements are made for other reasons than the accused’s guilt.

    I have a man friend who has documentary proof he didn’t harass his accuser. The company paid her what they considered the insignificant sum of $10,000 to go away. It later turned out she’d made exactly the same sort of accusation against a previous employer and they’d also paid her to go away.

    In both cases the accuser walked away with money she didn’t deserve, and, under this proposed Pennsylvania law, both men would have been publicly exposed in a way that implied they were guilty.

  2. Judy works very hard to protect her constituents, more than many. While it would not be perfect, things are not working now either. The secrecy allows abusers to continue to abuse again and again. Do any of them stop after a confidential settlement? No. They just move on to the next victim. We need to remove the incentive for companies to protect predators. I agree that both sides have lawyers but the power imbalance is still huge: often a big company with limitless resources against a victim without a job. Does the victim agree to the settlement or get blackballed? I am sick of the way the abuser is protected. The ones at my company were all managers. Everyone knew they did it. Yet he only abused peons so there was nothing we could do. Just saying “No” negatively affected my reputation and career. It is incredibly naive to think having a lawyer puts you on an equal footing.

    1. There are some terrible people, absolutely, but this law would give companies no reason to settle. Proving harassment in the court is much more difficult than getting a company to settle. Which means getting legal counsel will be much more difficult. Lawyers need to be paid and if you substantially reduce the chance of a settlement or win, you’ll have to pay up front. Very few people can afford that.

      And companies can vastly increase the cost of going to court by extending deadlines, increasing the number of people to be deposed, etc. It really puts the victims at a disadvantage.

  3. BTW: I am curious why you are moving to Facebook. It means we cannot tell our stories anonymously. Is that your point? I haven’t seen a lot of problems with trolls here yet some might appreciate anonymity.

    1. I’m not moving to Facebook. This is staying. I’ve had an EHRL facebook page for a long time, I’m just changing that so it’s now a group instead of an individual page.

      Everyone can still ask anonymous questions! No worries.

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