Non-disclosure and severance agreements have come to the attention of regulators as concerns rise about language they include that could intimidate or prevent whistleblowers.
“I represent a lot of non-profits, including religious institutions, and they are getting hit left and right,” said Caroline J. Berdzik, Chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Employment and Labor and Health Care Practice Groups, in the Risk & Compliance Report of The Wall Street Journal.
Caroline noted that increased scrutiny of these confidentiality agreements is not only happening to organizations getting government funding for international projects, but is occurring to non-profits and for-profits with domestic operations.
For those companies worried about the language of their severance agreements, Caroline suggested that if they haven’t revised the documents in the last year or so they should have them reviewed by an employment attorney, then decide whether to make any changes. She explained that because agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have limited resources, they tend to pursue cases involving larger, more well known entities, so a company has to weigh the likelihood of how much of a target it might be if it is a small- or mid-sized organization.
“So if you’re a mom-and-pop place and maybe your language is a little aggressive, do you want to roll the dice and keep the language in there?” Caroline asked.