24 October 2018

The Telegraph today revealed that a leading businessman has obtained an injunction preventing the newspaper from reporting a series of sexual harassment and racial abuse allegations made by his staff. 
Commenting on the Telegraph #MeToo story, Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society said:
"In sexual harassment cases the balance of power in the workplace is still overwhelmingly in the abuser's favour and now we see in this case that is translating into the power to gag the press.
"We have to create a culture which supports and believes her rather than one which silences her. An organisation which roots out the worst cases rather than simply paying her off and leaving him in place to continue his behaviour. But simply removing non-disclosure agreements isn't the answer. That risks leaving the individual woman with even less power than she has now with no guarantee the workplace culture will change.  
"This is why our law review called for third party harassment to be outlawed and also called for a new duty on employers to prevent harassment. Employers should be held accountable for the steps they are taking to prevent harassment. If a woman reports it she needs to feel confident it will be dealt with. At the moment this is far from reality for most women."
Read Sam Smethers' blog today which argues that NDA's are a symptom of a bigger problem – the balance of power in the workplace and the culture of cover-up.