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Time is up asked volunteers to sign confidentiality pledges
Photo Illustration from The Daily Beast / Photos Getty Earlier this month, amid a public relations nightmare, the nation’s leading sexual harassment advocacy group took a step that seemed to go against its principles. Time’s Up, the organization formed by powerful Hollywood actors in response to the MeToo movement, asked volunteers to sign an agreement limiting their ability to speak freely about the organization, including a commitment not to disparage the group, its employees, or their ” community members. ”The Daily Beast obtained a copy of the document that was presented to members of at least one committee earlier this month, shortly after members of the group’s health care subsidiary resigned en masse. Monica McLemore, a founding member of Health -care and a former advisor to Time’s Up’s global leadership board, called the document “surprising and disappointing.” nondisclosure turn around and ask people who were affiliated with the organization … to give up their ability to be critical, ”he said. “It doesn’t suit me.” “Asking someone to sign a statement agreeing not to discredit the organization, smells like the same tactics we were trying to end to me,” he added. At This #MeToo Group, a source familiar with the matter said the agreement was first circulated late last year and that volunteers were not barred from attending committee meetings if they did not sign it. A spokesperson for Time’s Up said the agreement was “intended solely to protect survivors, not to silence anyone.” “The document, which was written and circulated last year, has one purpose and one purpose only: to ensure that survivors who speak during TIME’S UP meetings have the right to confidentiality, so that they can tell their stories in a safe space. and not worrying that what they say will be repeated by others without their consent, “he said in a statement. It was previously reported by The Hollywood Reporter, it requires volunteers to sign on 11” guidance policies, “which include that they will not” discredit TIME’S UP, its employees, or community members. “Members must also agree to” keep all non-public information about TIME’S UP’s activities and members of its community confidential “and” not to disclose, use or post any confidential and / or privileged information of TIME’S UP without approval. “Labor attorneys who spoke with The Daily Beast said the language was standard in many employment contracts, but or that it could be used to discourage survivors of harassment and discrimination from speaking negatively about their experience. Other survivor advocacy organizations include specific exclusions in their confidentiality agreements that state that they are not intended to prohibit parties from discussing harassment or discrimination in the workplace. Douglas Wigdor, an attorney who has represented multiple victims of Harassment linked by NDA in recent years, said the non-disparagement clause was the most disturbing part of the deal. “I’m really surprised that Times Up, an organization that encourages victims to speak up rather than suffer in silence, requires their own workers to sign a non-disparagement agreement.” he said. “This, along with one of its founders advocating compulsory arbitration, seems to go against its otherwise laudable mission.” A cornerstone of Time’s Up’s work in recent years has been asking companies to release victims of sexual harassment from any confidentiality agreements. signed as part of an agreement or a condition of your employment. The group asked NBC to release employees from its NDAs during an internal investigation of the company’s work culture and lobbied Fox News to release Gretchen Carlson from a similar settlement. A policy memorandum on the group’s website highlights the 13 states that have so far banned mandatory nondisclosure agreements, calling it “a step forward in ensuring everyone is safe when they go to work.” Another page on the site encourages fans to text the NFL to ask the Washington soccer team to release workers from its NDAs. Time’s Up Group members are resigning en masse over the harassment scandal. ‘TikTok Doc’ Last year, the group issued a press release praising Bloomberg LP and Conde Nast for ending the use of NDA and releasing employees from any existing settlement in cases of sexual harassment and discrimination. “For too long, mandatory NDAs have meant that workplace harassment remains hidden, silencing those who experience sexual harassment and allowing abusers to evade discovery and avoid consequences,” Executive Director Tina Tchen said at the time. . “Sexual harassment takes away the voice and agency of an individual employee, and mandatory confidentiality agreements have perpetuated this marked imbalance of power.” Earlier this month, the group drew criticism from members of Time’s Up Healthcare, its subsidiary that addresses harassment and discrimination in the medical setting – about a lawsuit that accused one of its founding members of ignoring a complaint of sexual harassment in work place. The members told The Daily Beast that they felt their suggestions on how to handle the situation were criticized by the Time’s Up leadership. About a third of the 50-member organization eventually resigned. A former member told The Daily Beast that the non-disparagement agreement was an example of the group’s “extreme hypocrisy.” “It is an organization full of volunteers, who are mostly survivors, so in reality, they are forcing survivors to sign confidentiality agreements,” he said. the survivors?” “That’s why so many of us left.” “We realized that not only were they not doing enough, they were actually becoming what we were trying to change.” The group has also attracted the scrutiny for the role of board chairwoman Roberta Kaplan in a case against financial giant Goldman Sachs. Kaplan, who has also represented survivors such as E. Jean Carroll and Amber Heard, signed on to represent the bank at the end of the year past allegations that his attorney general covered up allegations of sexual misconduct. Last month, Kaplan and his deputy attorney took the case out of court and took it to confidential arbitration, a process that many advocates have denounced as silencing survivors. Wigdor and his business partner David Gottlieb represented the plaintiff in that case and singled out Kaplan in a statement last year. arbitrating claims in a secret forum is wrong. Period, ”the lawyers said. “Em. Kaplan surely knows this as a co-founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which is why it is so disappointing that she agreed to take such an anti # MeToo position on behalf of Goldman.” Read more on The Daily Beast. Advice? to The Daily Beast here Get our best stories delivered to your inbox every day. Sign up now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.