gunnercooke Partner helps lead campaign to ‘Make NDAs Fair’

May 12, 2022

gunnercooke Partner Shilpen Savani is part of the team leading a campaign for fairer NDAs in the advertising industry and beyond.

The ‘Make NDAs Fair’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the systematic misuse of NDAs and stop silencing victims of abuse and sexual harassment cases.

The campaign is led by a group of industry veterans and ad associations and endorsed by partners and experts in this area. The group includes diversity consultant Ali Hanan (Creative Equals), brand-side advocate Jerry Daykin (Beam Suntory), Creative Director Jo Wallace, mental health & wellbeing specialist Katrina Urban (NABS), and legal expert Shilpen Savani (gunnercooke LLP).

Initiatives will focus on increasing education around NDAs and stop misuse, as well as publicly call on organisations to include a Fair NDA clause visibly in their internal policies.

Shilpen Savani is a Dispute Resolution and Employment Partner at gunnercooke, advising on complex commercial disputes and contentious corporate matters. He also provides comprehensive workplace advice and representation for employers and employees.

Shilpen comments: “I’m pleased to be part of this important campaign, which aims to challenge the misuse of NDAs by educating individuals on their rights in this area and encouraging leaders to improve how they manage secrecy in the workplace.

“Confidentiality clauses are routinely used in employment contracts to protect sensitive information and there’s nothing wrong with this if employees understand what is being asked of them. But when there is a dispute and employers offer outgoing employees a settlement agreement, this frequently introduces strict secrecy clauses with the threat that even a minor breach will jeopardise the employee’s whole compensation. This is unfair because the compensation paid is mainly for past matters and should not be tied to secrecy. Of course, the aim is to secure a clean break, but these clauses can go too far. After all, there would be no such protection in a court or employment tribunal, where cases are heard in public. It becomes even worse if such clauses end up shielding workplace bullies and deter victims of sexual harassment or other misconduct from reporting this.

“This is not unique to advertising and is a problem that applies in other sectors too. We are asking decision makers and their advisers to recognise this issue, which can happen unintentionally, and improve their practices.”

In July 2019, the UK government committed to legislate in this area “when Parliamentary time allows”. With no changes in law on the immediate horizon, it is the team’s ambition to move faster, eradicate abuse of NDAs and confidentiality clauses, and set an industry “best practice” standard.
If you have any questions regarding NDAs, employment contracts or settlement agreements, please contact Shilpen Savani.

To read more, visit the NABS website here.