Advocates for sexual harassment victims push law banning NDAs in Connecticut

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Members of the #MeToo movement are hoping to make big changes to state law that could make it easier for victims to report sexual harassment.

Right now, victims groups say victims sometimes can't say things if they're bound by a nondisclosure agreement. But there's a new push to ban NDAs statewide.

For years, figures like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby used NDAs to keep their accusers silent, threatening them with massive lawsuits if they came forward.

In Connecticut, workers often have to sign NDAs at their jobs. Victims advocates say many times those agreements cover sexual harassment claims.

Donna Palomba heads the victims group called Jane Doe No More. Her story was detailed in a book by the same name.

"I was tied, bound and raped, a gun to my head. It was horrific," says Palomba.

Palomba was able to come forward, as did Fox News anchor and Greenwich resident Gretchen Carlson, in allegations that were detailed in the movie "Bombshell."

"When someone is being offered a job, they're often not thinking about something like that. They're thinking about their career and the potential," says Palomba. "And of course, they don't anticipate there to be all these kinds of issues that may come up down the road. So they sign this, unknowingly, about what could happen in the future."

Top lawmakers announced a new push for the ban Friday for sexual assault or harassment cases. Business-related agreements would still be allowed. Five states, including Vermont, already have a similar law.

The odds for this plan to pass this year are promising. Last year, it passed in the state Senate with near unanimous support, but lawmakers ran out of time to get it to Gov. Ned Lamont's desk.

 

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