New Jersey to Ban Non-Disparagement Language in Employment Related Settlement Agreements

On September 30, 2022, the New Jersey Assembly took a step toward allowing employees who endured discrimination, retaliation, or harassment at the workplace to speak about their experiences on the job.  Specifically, New Jersey lawmakers advanced a bill barring settlement agreements in employment related cases from including language that require the parties not to disparage one another. 

The bill would add language to A.B. 4521, a New Jersey law that already protects employees against employers’ efforts to silence them regarding their experiences dealing with discrimination, retaliation, or harassment at the workplace.  The bill’s language would state, “A provision in any employment contract or settlement agreement which has the purpose or effect of concealing the details relating to a claim of discrimination, retaliation, or harassment, including, but not limited to, a non-disclosure or non-disparagement provision, or other similar agreement … shall be deemed against public policy and unenforceable against a current or former employee … who is a party to the contract or settlement.”

One of the bill’s sponsors, Assemblywoman Sadaf F. Jaffer (D-Somerset), told the Assembly Judiciary Committee: “Even without fears of legal retribution, it can be daunting for workers to come forward and share their experiences. We must break down the obstacles that stop those who have experienced workplace wrongdoing from seeking justice or warning others of their experiences.”  Further adding, the legislation “will empower New Jersey employees across all sectors to speak truthfully about their experiences in the workplace and promote healthier, more positive workplace environments for all.” 

Workers who believe they have been discriminated against or retaliated by their employer should seek legal counsel to analyze their potential claims. 

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About Camilo Burr

Camilo Burr is an associate at Faruqi & Faruqi’s New York office. Camilo’s practice is focused on employment law and wage and hour class action litigation.

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