Story 76

6th December 2022

I signed an NDA in my settlement in 2001. I had been health and social policy researcher/adviser in regional government. A newly appointed chief of staff (for whom I had not worked and had never met him before that time) dismissed me after conducting a so-called review of staff in which he met with most staff members but not with me.

I subsequently made a complaint under regional Equal Opportunity law to the regional Civil and Administrative Tribunal, alleging that the chief of staff had discriminated against me in that he met with male colleagues on the same level as me but not with me. I also later alleged indirect discrimination and sexual harassment. The claim of sexual harassment was not originally made as my lawyer said it was two-edged and could cause difficulties. However we included in the original claim that there was a “blokey atmosphere” in the workplace in which jokes by men about women and sex were common, for example.

A judge later ruled that this constituted a claim of sexual harassment and either had to be made as such or omitted, so I made a separate sexual harassment claim with more details. The case was eventually settled just before hearing in 2001. It was effectively settled as a wrongful dismissal. The settlement contained a non-disclosure clause, but it was not very clearly worded and arguably only prevents me from showing anyone the actual document. Some of the terms were leaked at the time (I don’t know by whom or why). 

The worst aspect of the secrecy is that the apology that was made to me was private - it should have been public. In my later work I have come into contact with one of the perpetrators and it has been a source of awkwardness to me and affected my career in that there has never been a public apology by him, and I’ve felt very constrained in my relationship with him. He is not in a direct relationship of authority with me but is very influential in the sphere in which I work.

If he had publicly apologized and wished me the best at the time, as he should have, it would have cleared the air and saved me a lot of awkwardness and some curtailment of my opportunities as a consequence.

The NDA has been a hindrance and a weight in my professional career. NDAs should be banned. I’m very much opposed to NDAs for all the reasons you list. My case could easily have been settled with an agreed statement of facts and public apology. I can see that agreeing not to make further damaging statements or claims outside the agreed statement of facts could be relevant but even that would have to be carefully worded so as not to prevent legitimate follow up.

CBMS UPDATE NOV 2022 image

CBMS UPDATE NOV 2022

CBMS July 2022 Update  image

CBMS July 2022 Update

Regulators plan new work on lawyers’ misuse of NDAs image

Regulators plan new work on lawyers’ misuse of NDAs

 Samantha Morton Breaks Down Her Pivotal Role in ‘She Said’ and Capturing the Essence of Zelda Perkins  image

Samantha Morton Breaks Down Her Pivotal Role in ‘She Said’ and Capturing the Essence of Zelda Perkins

Tragic consequences of non-disclosure agreements image

Tragic consequences of non-disclosure agreements

A Resolution to Limit Use of NDA's up for debate at the CBA Annual Meeting in February. image

A Resolution to Limit Use of NDA's up for debate at the CBA Annual Meeting in February.

An NDA from Harvey Weinstein cost me my career – at last, banning them feels within reach image

An NDA from Harvey Weinstein cost me my career – at last, banning them feels within reach

Biden signs law curbing nondisclosure agreements that block victims of sexual harassment from speaking out image

Biden signs law curbing nondisclosure agreements that block victims of sexual harassment from speaking out

Ontario, lawyer hails victory on university, college use of non-disclosure agreements  image

Ontario, lawyer hails victory on university, college use of non-disclosure agreements

Times Up UK backs campaign Cant Buy My Silence image

Times Up UK backs campaign Cant Buy My Silence

"She Said" Screening UK Q&A with Emily Maitlis, Sam Morton, Zelda Perkins

London (Ontario) lawyer fights university, college use of non-disclosure agreements  image

London (Ontario) lawyer fights university, college use of non-disclosure agreements

Mark Stephens, Zelda Perkins discuss NDAs & Dominic Raab image

Mark Stephens, Zelda Perkins discuss NDAs & Dominic Raab

‘She Said’ Filmmakers and Weinstein Victims: An Emotional Collaboration image

‘She Said’ Filmmakers and Weinstein Victims: An Emotional Collaboration

I knew Harvey was a monster after he tried to rape my colleague. But when I spoke out I was silenced image

I knew Harvey was a monster after he tried to rape my colleague. But when I spoke out I was silenced

Halifax Roundtable on NDAs

Has the Use of NDA's Gone Too Far? Halifax Roundtable

Expert Panel on Abuse of NDA'S IN MOVA SCOTIA image

Expert Panel on Abuse of NDA'S IN MOVA SCOTIA

People silenced by non-disclosure agreements speak out at hearing for Manitoba Liberal bill image

People silenced by non-disclosure agreements speak out at hearing for Manitoba Liberal bill

 Can’t Buy My Silence to Host Exclusive Preview Screening of “She Said” in LondonPost 130 image

Can’t Buy My Silence to Host Exclusive Preview Screening of “She Said” in LondonPost 130

Banning the use of NDA' in Nova Scotia and Elsewhere image

Banning the use of NDA' in Nova Scotia and Elsewhere

Premier says people aren't 'forced' to sign NDAs; advocates say coercion a factor image

Premier says people aren't 'forced' to sign NDAs; advocates say coercion a factor

Ontario to end secrecy behind campus sexual misconduct cases and let universities fire faculty who abuse students image

Ontario to end secrecy behind campus sexual misconduct cases and let universities fire faculty who abuse students

A man was charged with her sexual assault 3 years ago. He's never been extradited image

A man was charged with her sexual assault 3 years ago. He's never been extradited

Ontario to ban NDAs in sexual misconduct cases by staff at colleges, universities image

Ontario to ban NDAs in sexual misconduct cases by staff at colleges, universities

MLA who sponsored P.E.I.'s non-disclosure agreement bill says N.S. should act now image

MLA who sponsored P.E.I.'s non-disclosure agreement bill says N.S. should act now

Trauma therapist calls for ban on NDAs for sexual assault survivors image

Trauma therapist calls for ban on NDAs for sexual assault survivors

BBC Radio 5 With Naga Munchetty image

BBC Radio 5 With Naga Munchetty

Lawyers need to redraw ethical boundaries “or face external action” image

Lawyers need to redraw ethical boundaries “or face external action”

Weinstein whistleblower: ‘nothing has changed’ on NDA rules image

Weinstein whistleblower: ‘nothing has changed’ on NDA rules

Reforming NDAs should be top of Liz Truss’s agenda image

Reforming NDAs should be top of Liz Truss’s agenda

Liberal bill targets ‘legalized hush money’ image

Liberal bill targets ‘legalized hush money’

Watch An Animated Graphic of the NDA Story image

Watch An Animated Graphic of the NDA Story

Inquiry launched into alleged sexual harassment by union leader image

Inquiry launched into alleged sexual harassment by union leader

Grassroots campaign wants to reform ‘dangerous’ non-disclosure agreements in Canada, abroad image

Grassroots campaign wants to reform ‘dangerous’ non-disclosure agreements in Canada, abroad

Lyons backs NI universities’ pledge to end use of Non-Disclosure Agreements image

Lyons backs NI universities’ pledge to end use of Non-Disclosure Agreements

CBC HOCKEY CANADA COVERAGE image

CBC HOCKEY CANADA COVERAGE

Abuse and harassment survivors 'silenced' ... image

Abuse and harassment survivors 'silenced' ...

CTV NEWS HOCKEY CANADA COVERAGE  image

CTV NEWS HOCKEY CANADA COVERAGE

Hockey Canada comes under fire after for its handling of alleged sexual assault image

Hockey Canada comes under fire after for its handling of alleged sexual assault

The Government says it will look to model the legislation off a Bill... image

The Government says it will look to model the legislation off a Bill...

Workplace 'gag orders' for sexual harassment could be finished image

Workplace 'gag orders' for sexual harassment could be finished

She Said – Official Trailer Release image

She Said – Official Trailer Release

Victoria to restrict deals silencing sexual harassment victims image

Victoria to restrict deals silencing sexual harassment victims

U.K. Performers’ Union Equity Fights Back Against NDA Overreach image

U.K. Performers’ Union Equity Fights Back Against NDA Overreach

NHS ambulance service doctored documents to cover up truth about deaths image

NHS ambulance service doctored documents to cover up truth about deaths

Ending Gag Clauses image

Ending Gag Clauses

Victims no longer silenced as landmark legislation takes effect on P.E.I. image

Victims no longer silenced as landmark legislation takes effect on P.E.I.

Zelda Perkins of Can’t Buy My Silence discusses 56 MPs facing claims of sexual misconduct image

Zelda Perkins of Can’t Buy My Silence discusses 56 MPs facing claims of sexual misconduct

Lady Margaret Hall is first Oxford college to ban non-disclosure agreements image

Lady Margaret Hall is first Oxford college to ban non-disclosure agreements

How Being Legally Silenced Prolongs Workplace Trauma and PTSD image

How Being Legally Silenced Prolongs Workplace Trauma and PTSD

P.E.I. could become 1st province to limit use of NDAs to silence victims of sexual misconduct image

P.E.I. could become 1st province to limit use of NDAs to silence victims of sexual misconduct

Harvey Weinstein PA says abusers still have the legal power to silence victims image

Harvey Weinstein PA says abusers still have the legal power to silence victims

Move fast to fix NDAs if you want to avoid a ban image

Move fast to fix NDAs if you want to avoid a ban

‘I had to start over, alone and silenced’: the fight to end NDA abuse image

‘I had to start over, alone and silenced’: the fight to end NDA abuse

Harvey Weinstein's Former Assistant's Mission to Ban NDAs Explained image

Harvey Weinstein's Former Assistant's Mission to Ban NDAs Explained

Whistleblowers launch campaign to end misuse of NDAs image

Whistleblowers launch campaign to end misuse of NDAs

Harvey Weinstein’s former PA: Why I want a law banning NDAs image

Harvey Weinstein’s former PA: Why I want a law banning NDAs

The Campaign to End NDAs image

The Campaign to End NDAs