California’s Senate Bill 331 went into effect on January 1, 2022. Known as the Silenced No More Act, it prohibits companies from requesting that employees sign a nondisclosure agreement when settling a discrimination claim. Employers may not condition a settlement on an employee’s confidentiality.
As reported by HRD America, SB 331 allows former employees to share their experiences after leaving a company. After closing their case, former employees may discuss the circumstances. They could, for example, speak about how they felt while working with a particular manager. Employers may need to expect that individuals will post their experiences online.
A complaint may lead to reinstatement or back pay
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notes that discrimination cases may result in companies hiring back their employees. Employers may, for example, agree to place individuals in their former positions after facing allegations of terminations based on age discrimination.
Employees who could prove discrimination after not receiving a promotion may in some cases also receive back pay. A court may order an employer to pay the value of compensation that an employee would have received but for the alleged offense.
Documentation may provide evidence serving as a defense
The Society for Human Resource Management notes that California law defines harassment, discrimination and retaliation as separate actions. Each offense has its violations and damage awards. If a former employee files a claim alleging discrimination a court may only provide relief for that specific offense. The employee must, however, prove that the termination resulted from discrimination.
Former employees may not find relief for discrimination when terminated lawfully under California’s labor laws. To defend against claims, employers could document issues related to potential allegations of harassment, discrimination or retaliation. An employer’s documentation of the lawful issues relevant to termination may avoid a costly dispute.