In recent weeks, workplace stories have emerged that paint troubling pictures of employment culture across industries, including hospitality, fitness, real estate, and media.
For every story that has surfaced, many other stories are kept hidden because of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that restrict people from informing the public, seeking justice, or recalibrating the culture at a workplace gone awry.
Storytelling firm Lioness believes the right story at the right time can change culture and society for the better. To that end, Lioness is partnering with White, Hilferty & Albanese -- a top New York City law firm with a highly-rated attorney network that serves all 50 states -- to help people who have signed NDAs get answers to their questions, clear up confusion about the terms of an agreement, and empower people with the information they need to make an informed decision about their NDA.
Under the supervision of law firm partner Vincent White, a qualified attorney will provide everyone who submits this survey* an NDA review and a free half-hour consultation to explain the terms of the specific agreement, whether the contract was balanced to protect the employee who signed it, and how to negotiate or renegotiate contracts in the future.
Additionally, Lioness will offer free media relations consultations for people mulling over a decision to speak out publicly despite having an NDA in place, whether on the record or on background. All details disclosed to Lioness will be kept private, and Lioness will not retain any data, unless the person submitting would explicitly like their information used to help identify patterns or trends as they relate to the problematic use of NDAs by companies or industries.
According to some studies, up to one-third of U.S. workers have signed an NDA. Once signed, the terms of an NDA, employment contract, or severance contract can be difficult to change. Breaking such an agreement can cause serious financial and legal problems for an employee. An individual who has signed one, or is contemplating signing one, is always well-served to learn more about their rights.
At the same time, speaking out against powerful corporations or unjust workplace practices can do much to create change in society. Whether or not a person decides to speak on any terms is a deeply personal choice, and many may decide the potential upsides to breaking an NDA is not worth the cost.
In some ways, NDA culture is already changing: some employers are releasing NDA-signers from their contracts, while other employers, instead of enforcing NDAs or suing those who speak out, are beginning the process of soul-searching, and attempting to understand why speaking out was necessary in the first place. The more we learn about closed-door NDA practices, the more we can learn how to build transparent and inclusive cultures not just in rhetoric, but in policy.
Law firms can help people who have a story to tell gain an understanding of the ramifications of the agreement they signed, or what they’re about to sign, and to aid them in making informed decisions about speaking up.
To respond to the survey or book your free consultation(s), please submit your contact information here, along with any answers you wish to provide on the optional survey.
*If you’d like to reach out anonymously with sensitive information, and are concerned about your digital security, please consider reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org from a non-work device or network. Freedom of the Press Foundation has some useful tips on removing traces of your digital footprint - learn more here.