Former Fox News personalities Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky have formed a national advocacy group called Lift Our Voices. The group says its aim is to stop companies from using nondisclosure agreements to prevent victims of improper workplace behavior from speaking out.
The group says it wants states to pass proposals patterned after the New Jersey employment law that makes provisions of NDAs unenforceable in cases in which an employee alleges workplace discrimination, harassment or retaliation.
The measure was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck and signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy earlier this year. It voids employment contracts that waive rights or remedies relating to discrimination, harassment or retaliation.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Roginsky said if companies abuse NDAs to “to malign women or to protect a toxic work environment,” the Lift Our Voices “digital army” will issue a call to boycott those firms.
She said the entertainment industry is particularly ripe for NDA abuse. Production companies use NDAs to keep secret details about projects in development, but that “these same NDAs are used to hide the fact that people are treated horribly.”
According to a report in the New Jersey Globe, Fox has refused to release Carlson and Roginsky from their NDAs.
On its website, their organization issues a lofty declaration: “We must Lift Our Voices to level the playing field for everyone – to fight for, support, and elevate all of us – not just for this generation, but for generations to come.”
Of course, the potential for abuse exists on the employee side of PDAs as well. Someone who might have financial or other reasons to try to void an NDA might well claim that they were victims of improper behavior to accomplish that goal.