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Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Bill - by Kim Leighton

Updated: Jan 31



We will be interested to see whether this bill will neutralise certain non-disclosure clauses in existing settlement agreements. We're not talking about clauses that protect intellectual property, trade secrets or privacy, but those that forbid former employees from complaining to WorkSafe, their regulatory body (if any) and even the police.


Here's the link: https://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2020/0294/latest/LMS301283.html


We intend to give a few examples of unsuccessful attempts to report serious wrongdoing including a senior manager who had rebuffed a Protected Disclosure. The manager was apparently leaned on by her employer to provide affidavit evidence to assist its 2017 application for a penalty for alleged breaches of a non-disparagement clause in a former academic's settlement agreement. The fallout caused the manager to resign from her job and leave the country.


We will also be looking at whether the proposed legislation is intended as a statutory "reset", whether contracting-out by way of NDA will be curtailed or prohibited, and whether or not that applies to existing NDAs.


How the proposed legislation might prevent overreaching, for example the 1998 NDA of Zelda Perkins who worked for Harvey Weinstein (the publication of which was used to help convict him) will be discussed in due course.

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