Employment Law Daily The Weinstein Company releases sexual harassment victims from NDAs
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Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Weinstein Company releases sexual harassment victims from NDAs

By Pamela Wolf, J.D.

The company of a man who catapulted the “Me Too” movement into a continuing media spotlight, prompting employers to audit their own workplace practices, has announced that it is releasing both victims of and witnesses to legendary producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct from nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) designed to shut them up, according to media reports.

The announcement came as the company filed bankruptcy paperwork on March 19. New York Attorney General Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who was instrumental in applying pressure on the company with a lawsuit filed in February, quickly responded to the new development.

“This is a watershed moment for efforts to address the corrosive effects of sexual misconduct in the workplace,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “The Weinstein Company’s agreement to release victims of and witnesses to sexual misconduct from nondisclosure agreements—which my office has sought throughout this investigation and litigation—will finally enable voices that have for too long been muzzled to be heard.”

The New York AG filed suit amid rumors that the company was being sold, with implications that victims could be left with no viable pathway to obtain redress for the harms they had suffered. In a statement made at the beginning of month, Schneiderman said that his office would support a deal ensuring victims will be adequately compensated, employees will be protected moving forward, and those who were responsible for misconduct at TWC will not be unjustly rewarded. At that time, Schneiderman said his office had received “express commitments from the parties that the new company will create a real, well-funded victims compensation fund, implement HR policies that will protect all employees, and will not unjustly reward bad actors.”

With the news of this latest development, Schneider said that his office will “continue to fight for victims’ best interests throughout the bankruptcy proceedings, and engage with all parties, including The Weinstein Company and Lantern [Lantern Capital, which will purchase its assets], in an ongoing effort to advance the principles we set forward when we filed our complaint: ensuring that victims are compensated, employees are protected moving forward, and perpetrators and enablers of abuse are not unjustly enriched.”

The AG said that his office welcomes the parties’ efforts to preserve jobs and pursue justice for victims, and that his office’s lawsuit against The Weinstein Company, Bob Weinstein, and Harvey Weinstein “remains active and our investigation is ongoing.”

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