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Former Apple worker inspires Washington state measure seeking to curb NDAs -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Apple Inc’s logo can be seen outside its 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference, San Francisco, California. It was taken on June 13, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Julia Love

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters). A whistleblower case filed by an Apple Inc employee (NASDAQ:) regarding Apple’s use Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) in workplace harassment and discrimination cases has inspired draft legislation from Washington.

This legislation draft in Washington follows a California law similar.

Washington state senator Karen Keiser is working with Representative Liz Berry (both Democrats) on bills that they intend to introduce during the next legislative session. This was confirmed by their offices this week.

Cher Scarlett is a Washington resident and former Apple employee who reached out to Keiser to increase awareness.

Berry told Reuters that no worker should be prevented from telling their personal stories about harassment or discrimination at work because they have signed an NDA.

The technology industry is not without NDAs. Some workers claim that technology giants use NDAs to stop legally protected activity such as the discussion of work conditions.

Nia Impact Capital, an investor, filed a shareholder proposition in September calling on Apple’s board of directors to create a “public rapport assessing the possible risks to the company related to its use concealment clauses, which are used in context of harassment and discrimination as well as other unlawful acts.”

Apple in October filed a response to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission saying it wanted to exclude the proposal because “the company’s policy is to not use such clauses.”

Scarlett, after reviewing Apple’s reply, stated she filed an SEC whistleblower claim in October alleging Apple had made false or misleading statements to it. Also, she shared documents with Nia Investment Capital.

Scarlett said that Scarlett quit Apple last week and decided to publish the information, violating her agreement with Apple. Business Insider was the first to report on her story.

Apple has declined to comment. Apple has stated previously that the company is committed to creating and maintaining positive, inclusive work environments.

The draft legislation in Washington echoes the “Silenced No More Act,” signed into law this year in California and co-sponsored by tech whistleblower Ifeoma Ozoma.

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