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This California bill could help more tech whistleblowers speak out

Tech employees who face discrimination and harassment at work may soon have a much easier path to coming forward and making their stories public. Many of these types of stories never see the light of day because companies often push employees with allegations into non-disclosure agreements, where they agree never to reveal what happened to them—even to family members and friends—under the threat of a lawsuit.

Now, California state senator Connie Leyva has introduced a bill that prevents companies from using NDAs to stop workers from sharing factual allegations of any type of discrimination, including on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, and disability.

The bill, called the Silenced No More Act, is designed to build upon a 2018 California law passed at the height of the #MeToo era that forbids companies from using NDAs in this way to prevent workers from sharing factual stories of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, or assault. That law, called the Stand Together Against Non-Disclosures (STAND) Act, was designed in particular to protect women from men like Harvey Weinstein, but did not prevent companies from using NDAs to cover up other kinds of discrimination. This new law will plug those gaps by extending to all protected categories of discrimination.

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