#MeToo Changes The Contract and Settlement Landscape
Posted December 7, 2018

As of January 1, 2019, AB 3109 provides that any provision in a contract or settlement agreement that attempts to waive a party’s “right to testify in an administrative, legislative, or judicial proceeding concerning alleged criminal conduct or alleged sexual harassment on the part of the other party to the contract or settlement agreement, or on the part of the agents or employees of the other party, when the party has been required or requested to attend the proceeding pursuant to a court order, subpoena, or written request from an administrative agency or the legislature” will be considered void and unenforceable. This amendment to the law stems directly from the #MeToo movement. The Legislature noted, “Among the troubling facts to emerge from the #MeToo movement and the reports of sexual harassment that prompted it was the extent to which cases were settled in ways that silenced the victims while allowing the perpetrators to go on as usual. Many of these settlements contained "non-disclosure agreements" (NDAs) that prohibited the victim from speaking about the case in public. In one notable instance, a NDA exposed Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney to a $100,000 fine for testifying in a criminal trial against a team doctor who sexually abused Maroney and several other gymnasts; the NDA was in a settlement agreement Maroney signed with the U.S. Gymnastics Association (USGA).”

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