New Washington Law Bans Nondisclosure and Nondisparagement Provisions and Applies Retroactively

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On March 24, 2022, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law ESHB 1795, which generally prohibits nondisclosure and nondisparagement provisions in agreements between employers and employees.  The law, which applies to current or prospective employees and independent contractors, makes void and unenforceable any nondisclosure or nondisparagement provisions that covers conduct an employee reasonably believes under Washington state, federal or common law to be illegal discrimination, harassment, retaliation, a wage and hour violation, or sexual assault, or that is recognized as against a clear mandate of public policy.

ESHB 1795 law applies to all manner of employer–employee agreements, including settlement agreements.  Acts in violation of the law include requesting or requiring that an employee enter into a prohibited provision, attempting to enforce a prohibited provision, or threatening to enforce a prohibited provision.

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