Newswise — Management professor Evan Starr at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, whose research was a source for the Speak Out Act, is available to discuss the impetus for bill to nullify nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) in cases in which sexual harassment or sexual assault is alleged. Congress recently passed the bipartisan bill expected to be signed into law by President Biden. 

Starr co-authored a policy brief with journalists Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky in advocating for the bill. “They pushed this bill through Congress,” he says.

The work with Carlson and Roginsky emanated from Starr’s working paper (here) with coauthors Jason Sockin (U.S. Treasury) and Aaron Sojourner (Upjohn Institute). They explained their findings last fall in a Washington Post op-ed, “What happens when states limit nondisclosure agreements? Employees start to dish,” including:

Policymakers should reconsider their tolerance of broad NDAs and nondisparagement clauses. While narrow NDAs have legitimate purposes, such as protecting trade secrets, allowing employers to use NDAs to prevent workers from later speaking honestly about their work experiences has little to no economic benefit to society. Indeed, it makes the job market more inefficient, by concealing bad behavior.