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#MeToo Movement Gains Victory In Law Banning Secret Settlements

Megan Goldsby
October 04, 2018 - 11:20 am

A bill with roots in the #MeToo movement has been signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown that prevents people accused of sexual harassment from maintaining anonymity when settling cases.

It was inspired by disgraced Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, and designed by state Sen. Connie Leyva, of Southern California, to abolish "secret settlements" and non- disclosure agreements in sexual harassment cases

Weinstein, who's been accused of rape and other forms of misconduct by dozens of women, used such agreements to shield his behavior from public view.

Women that he attacked and mistreated "lost their jobs. They lost their dignity. So this bill make it illegal to do that," Leyva said. 

"I think all of us have known for many years that secret settlements existed. But they put women at a disadvantage, and the perpetrator at an advantage," she said. 

The bill, which takes effect on January 1 turns that around. Under the law, victims may remain anonymous in any settlement, but perpetrators' names cannot be confidential. 

By forcing previous settlements into the open, the bill is designed to prevent perpetrators from finding new, unsuspecting victims in the workplace. 

"Women just want to go to work,  do their jobs, and be paid and respected," said Leyva. "It's not too much to ask."

Written by Diana Shook.