Employment news

Acas issues advice on use of Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)

Acas has published Guidance for Non-disclosure agreements aimed at helping employers and HR professionals understand what NDAs are, how and when they should be used and how to change and improve workplace practices to avoid their unnecessary use.

The guide states that NDAs should not be used to stop someone reporting discrimination, harassment or sexual harassment at work or to the police; to cover up inappropriate behaviour or misconduct, particularly if there’s a risk of it happening again; or to prevent disclosure of a future act of discrimination or harassment. If NDAs are used for the wrong reasons they can create a culture of distrust in the workplace.

Acas suggests that employers should examine issues on a case-by-case basis to see if their use could cause serious moral or ethical issues, or if it will cause any other negative outcomes or effects. NDAs can be used legitimately in some situations, but they should not be used routinely or to prevent someone from reporting sexual harassment, discrimination or whistleblowing at work.

If employers wish to use a NDA Acas says they should always o always give a clear explanation of why one is being proposed and what it is intended to achieve, Employees should be given time to carefully consider, seeking trade union or legal advice.