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Government refuses to ban non-disclosure agreements in all harassment cases

14 May 2024

The Treasury Committee has published a response from the Treasury and regulators to it's report on sexual harassment and bullying in the financial services sector.

In the report, entitled Sexism in the City, MPs found a ‘shocking’ prevalence of sexism and misogyny and a culture which is ‘holding back women’. 

The Committee concluded progress was moving at a ‘snail’s pace’ and called for a number of changes to existing workplace practices. One reform put forward was a total ban on the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in all harassment cases. 

In its response, the Government highlights action they have taken in preventing the use of NDAs in other sectors and says an NDA would ‘most likely’ be unenforceable when related to reporting a crime to the police. They do not commit to taking forward the Committee’s recommendation. 

The Committee also recommended stronger protections for sexual harassment whistleblowers, a ban on prospective employers asking for salary history and a legal requirement to include salary bands on job adverts. 

The Government confirmed they are continuing to review the whistleblowing framework with a view to understanding how it can be improved. 

Chair's comment

Chair of the Treasury Committee, Dame Harriett Baldwin, said:  

“Backed up by a huge amount of compelling evidence, our Committee set out a number of recommendations which would create a fairer, safer environment for talented women trying to get on in the UK’s world-leading financial services sector.

Steps like banning NDAs in all harassment cases and removing biases which benefit men in salary negotiations are straightforward, logical measures which would have a huge impact on people’s lives.

I would continue to urge the Government to increase the pace of progress and competitiveness in this important sector.”

Further information

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