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Virginia Law Update: New Limits on Virginia Employee Non-Disclosure Agreements

Published by and on June 18, 2019

New Virginia law prohibits employers from requiring employee execution of non-disclosure agreements that conceal details relating to sexual assault claims as a condition of employment.

On February 22, 2019, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed House Bill 1820 (“HB 1820”) into law, effective for all Virginia employers on July 1, 2019. The new law limits the scope of non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements regarding the disclosure or concealment of sexual assault claims. HB 1820 was unanimously passed by both the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate during the Virginia General Assembly 2019 Regular Session.

Codified as Va. Code § 40.1-28.01, HB 1820 prohibits an employer from requiring an employee or a prospective employee to execute or renew any provision in a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement that has the purpose or effect of concealing the details relating to a claim of sexual assault as a condition of employment. Under the law, claims of sexual assault include claims of rape, forceable sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, and sexual battery. HB 1820 provides that any such provision is against public policy and is void and unenforceable. HB 1820 further provides that the new prohibition on non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements will in no way limit other grounds that exist in law or in equity for the unenforceability of any such agreement or any provision of such agreement.

Welter Insight

Virginia employers should take care to review all existing non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements to ensure compliance with HB 1820 by July 1, 2019. If necessary, employers should prepare new agreements in compliance with the new law.

Affected employers should seek counsel if unsure whether current agreements are compliant under the new law.

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