Webinar Recap: Brian Kent Participates in Webinar Discussion on Non-Disclosure Agreements and Their Impact on Abuse Victims

Laffey Bucci Kent

Brian Kent recently participated in a webinar titled “NDAs – Permission to Victimize?” presented by The Woolf Group Strategic Solutions. The webinar was moderated by Bill Woolf, principal of The Woolf Group, and other panelists included Gretchen Carlson, co-founder of Lift Our Voices, and Elizabeth Carlock Phillips, executive director of The Phillips Foundation. The discussion focused on how non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) can prevent victims from coming forward and from getting justice.

Kent discussed the imbalanced nature of many NDAs: “There’s a presumption that the person reads and understands that contract. The problem is that if you conceal information or mispresent information in order to obtain the contract, it’s really not a meeting of the minds.”

He highlighted how harmful an NDA can be for child victims of sexual abuse: “The problem is it limits the rights of the child forever. Most survivors don’t come forward and report what happened until much later in life, and when they come into adulthood, they don’t have any recourse. Not only do they not have recourse, they’re not even allowed to talk about it publicly. Even if they didn’t want to file a lawsuit, they couldn’t do advocacy work and things of that nature. There are so many parts of the healing process that can be affected if you bind someone with that NDA.”

Kent also discussed how these laws are evolving in favor of victims: “You’re seeing states looking at, ‘Should we be promoting or allowing NDAs, forced arbitration clauses, or non-disparagement clauses in situations involving sexual harassment, assault, or abuse?’ and I think what we are seeing is, the answer is no. Common sense tells you no, you don’t want to restrict a survivor’s right to do what they want to do to tell their story and heal the way they may want to heal, in whatever avenue that is.”

Watch the webinar here.