Consultation outcome

Confidentiality clauses: measures to prevent misuse in situations of workplace harassment or discrimination

This consultation has concluded

Download the full outcome

Detail of outcome

The final proposals in the government response include:

  • legislating so that no provision in a confidentiality clause can prevent disclosures to the police, regulated health and care professionals and legal professionals
  • legislating so that limitations in confidentiality clauses are clearly set out in employment contracts and settlement agreements
  • producing guidance for solicitors and legal professionals responsible for drafting settlement agreements
  • legislating to enhance the independent legal advice received by individuals signing confidentiality clauses
  • enforcement measures for confidentiality clauses that do not comply with legal requirements in written statements of employment particulars and settlement agreements

Detail of feedback received

The consultation received 582 responses from:

  • trade unions
  • legal organisations
  • charities
  • campaign organisations
  • employers
  • employer representative organisations

Respondents expressed a variety of opinions on the proposals, but overall supported the government’s intentions to enhance protections for vulnerable individuals.

Original consultation

Summary

We're seeking views on proposals to improve the regulation of confidentiality clauses, also known as non-disclosure agreements or NDAs.

This consultation ran from
to

Consultation description

Confidentiality clauses, also known as non-disclosure agreements or NDAs, are provisions which seek to prohibit the disclosure of information. They serve a useful and legitimate purpose in the employment context, as part of both employment contracts and settlement agreements. However, a number of cases have come to light where employers have used confidentiality clauses to prevent victims of workplace harassment or discrimination from speaking out.

The purpose of this consultation is:

  • to better understand how confidentiality clauses and the legal framework around them work in practice
  • to assess what changes are required to ensure individuals are appropriately protected from their misuse

Documents

Confidentiality clauses: measures to prevent misuse in situations of workplace harassment or discrimination

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Impact assessment

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Published 4 March 2019
Last updated 21 July 2019 + show all updates
  1. Government response published.
  2. Impact assessment added.
  3. First published.