AZ lawmaker proposes bill to help sexual assault, harassment victims

AZ lawmaker proposes bill to help sexual assault, harassment victims

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - An Arizona lawmaker is working to make it easier for sexual assault or harassment victims to share their stories.

State Rep. Maria Syms introduced House Bill 2020, which would make nondisclosure agreements that prevent victims from speaking out "void and unenforceable."

The bill would prevent sexual predators from buying their victims' silence.

Syms said the bill would mean more victims would share their experiences so more incidents don't happen.

Tibor Nagy, Jr., a Tucson employment lawyer, said he believes the proposed bill is a direct result from all of the sexual assault claims in the news lately.

He said the bill could be helpful in some situations.

"Have there been times where employees have and or attempted to violate the confidentiality agreements? Yeah, they have," he said. "And we do go after individuals in certain cases when that happens and that results in some litigation sometimes."

But, in some ways, he said, it's flawed.

"An employer might be much less willing to enter into that type of settlement agreement if they know they can not enforce the confidentiality that relates to sexual harassment," he said. "So what it could do, and I think it is too early to say at this point, it could make it more difficult to resolve sexual harassment claims in the future."

Arizona lawmakers will consider this bill when they convene in January.

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